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Crackdown on nomads, hawkers on Goa beaches

IANS | Panaji |

The movement of Lamanis, members of a nomadic tribe, vagabonds and hawkers will be restricted on the state’s beaches so that tourists are not disturbed, the Goa Assembly was told on Wednesday.

Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar said this in answer to a question by Congress legislator Francisco Silveira about whether the government would restrict the movement of Lamanis on Goan beaches in order to save tourists, who frequent coastal regions in droves every year, from harassment.

“Yes… Any person who disturbs the tourists and hampers tourism will not be allowed to do so,” said Ajgaonkar.

“This department has deployed India Reserve Battalion police force, tourist wardens and the Tourist Security Force to restrict the movement of vagabonds or hawkers and other illegal activities on the beaches of north and south Goa.”

Lamanis are a nomadic community originating from parts of Rajasthan, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, many thousands of whom are settled in Goa, engaged in a variety of businesses along the coastal belt.

In May this year, Lamanis residing in Goa had protested against the statement of Ajgaonkar, who had demanded a ban on members of the tribe from Goa, claiming they indulge in hawking on the beaches. Ajgaonkar later said that his comments were misinterpreted.

Goa attracts more than six million tourists every year, more than half a million of whom are foreign nationals.