|Goa police step up security
PANAJI: Stepping up the security
drive in the costal tourist belt of Goa, the police on Wednesday continued
their screening of Kashmiris, Lamanis and others, including overstaying
foreigners, in the beach belt.
The police move is part of
the tightening up of security following the recent Mumbai terror strikes
targeting hotels. Significantly, Goa is one of the leading international
tourist destinations known for grand celebrations of Christmas and New
Year by the hospitality industry with a high presence of foreigners, Indian
VIPS and VVIPs, business and film celebrities.
The police action is coming
in the wake of the tourism industry’s petition to the State Government
early this week that it was facing cancellation of bookings from foreign
tourists and was being bombarded with enquiries by tourists, foreign tour
operators and agencies about the level of safety and security of tourists
On Tuesday, the police started
the drive by making surprise and random checks at coastal hotels — big
and small — to ascertain the safety steps taken by the hotels. Police teams
scanned hotels, both starred and medium, besides resorts on the entry of
tourists, both domestic and foreign, in the hotels in recent times.
Ralph de Souza, president
of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), which represents the hospitality
industry and tour operators, confirmed the security drive by the police
and said that the hotels and tour operators had been cooperating with the
law enforcement agencies over security issues.
“We want the right signal
to go out about Goa’s safety and security ahead of Christmas and New Year
celebrations. We have been taking steps since long to sensitise various
stakeholders of the industry to be vigilant regarding security and safety
of the tourists,” he said.
As many as 10 foreign and
domestic tourists came under the scanner of the Goa police during the surprise
checks in hotels located along the coastal belt in south Goa on Tuesday.
Though the police declined
to divulge the nationality of the foreign tourists, some of them were found
staying in hotels for three and more months, raising suspicions about their
presence and their activities in the State during their stay.
Refusing to take chances
in view of the terror strike in Mumbai, the police have constituted teams
to probe the presence of these tourists in Goa, their background and other
activities, said sources in the police.