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  • from daijiworld's special correspondent
    Panaji, Jan 16: Goa is getting expensive for the leisure seekers every year.Excessive taxation, triggered by VAT, has forced Goa's hotel industry to hike tarriffs by 25 per cent in the past couple of years making the coastal state an expensive destination , feel tourism experts.
    "While Goa has witnessed growth in tourism, concerns are raised on pricings as it is competing with southeast Asian countries, which are much cheaper holiday zones," travel and tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) president Ralf D'Souza said.Hospitality industry players feel that Value Added Tax (VAT) regime in Goa has overburdened the industry, which is forced to pass on the extra liability to clients. "Three years back, VAT was implemented in Goa. Earlier the industry was governed by sales tax, which was 5.5 per cent. But VAT scaled the tax to 12.5 per cent," D'Souza said."20 per cent VAT was imposed on liquor furtherhiking the prices," he said.He observed that luxury tax too witnessed a jump from 5.75 to 8.75 per cent."There was total 17 per cent hike in taxes. Hoteliers added seven to eight per cent of their own jacking prices by 25 per cent," he said.

    Save Goa cries greet Rane
    MARGAO, JAN 13 — Loud cries of “Scrap Regional Plan” and “save Goa” “stop mining at Canacona” resounded at the inaugural ceremony of the 12th Goa Yuva Festival at BPS Club grounds here on Saturday, literally taking Chief Minister off guard, with an embarassed  Pratapsing Rane re-assuring to review the Plan - a promise which had hardly any takers.Both the Chief Minister and Power Minister, Digambar Kamat — seated on the dias — turned pale figures amidst the huge gathering of 3000-odd young Goans, who armed with the traditional ‘dol’ and banners asked politicians to protect Goa and threatened to come on the streets if the Plan was not scrapped forthwith.What literally forced Rane to comment on the controversial Plan at the festival inaugural ceremony was the presence of a few placards prominently displayed in the audience. “I have seen and read the message. I will take that into consideration. The plan needs to be discussed. 
    The TCP portfolio has now come to me after Monserrate’s resignation. But, it’s not my landed property to scrap it immediately. The experts will inquire into it”, Rane said, adding “lakhs of rupees were spent on the Plan, adding the audit will raise objections”.Sensing the crowd were demanding a categorical assurance, Rane said “in a democracy, one has to listen to the people. People are free to raise objections, but they need to be discussed before taking any decision. What people want will be met, but after following a procedure””, but avoided making any categorical assurance.Later, President of the festival, Adv Amey Prabhudessai sent across a stern warning that the youth will not tolerate any attempt to sell their motherland and Goan identity.

    No organised criminal gangs in Goa, says DIG
    Panaji, Jan 16 The deputy inspector-general of police, Mr Ujjwal Mishra today said that there could be some criminal gangs operating from outside Goa but there are no organised gangs in Goa. Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’, the DIG said, “These gangsters come, stay temporarily, commit crimes and then go back to their native places.” The “real” and well-organised gangs come from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and other areas, he disclosed.
    He informed that “white-collar crimes” are being replaced by “blue-collar crimes’’. Cheating has become better form of making fast bucks. Banks offer huge loans and people with criminal mind do not bother to pay the banks back. There are big complicated loan frauds. So the police find it very difficult to apprehend the accused and bring him to justice, the DIG said Mr Mishra stated that earlier criminals used to resort to ‘physical’ methods like robbery, snatching of goods, kidnapping. However, now the time has changed. Giving an example of rise in blue-collar crimes, he said that Anthony Britto, who was engaged in procuring sex workers and supplying them through a chain, used to get calls from hoteliers, nightclub owners and taxi operators. When the police arrested Anthony -- and his associates – he revealed that he used to procure these sex workers from Delhi, Calcuta, Mumbai. He said this was altogether a different type of crime.
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