by bappaditya paul
The Goa government has decided to install prefabricated wash-cum-changing rooms on all sea beaches in Goa for the convenience of tourists and also to keep the beaches clean. Tourists, in particular women, going for sea bath away from their place of accommodation, often face difficulty for want of washrooms on the beaches. This also leads to the beaches getting dirty, as many-a-times tourists feel compelled to defecate in the open.
To address the issue, the Goa government has taken up a project wherein prefabricated wash-cum-changing rooms will be installed on all the sea beaches in Goa. According to the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) managing director, Nikhil U Desai, the project will be implemented on public-private-partnership (PPP) mode. “We will earmark specific sites on our beaches and private enterprises will install the prefabricated wash-cum-changing rooms. The government will not charge anything for the land provided on short-term lease and the private entities will take away the entire revenue earned from the users of the facility,” Mr Desai said. “We are floating a tender for the project by November-end and all our major beaches such as Candolim, Calangute, Baga, will get the wash-cum-changing rooms by January next year. The remaining beaches will get the facility by April.”
Goa has a total of 18 popular sea beaches spread over the North and South Goa districts.
The Goa government specified prefabricated wash-cum-changing rooms can be installed in 10 days and they are an eco-friendly ones with inbuilt mechanism for clearing of the waste for disposal away from the beach. As an added advantage, the facility will also have cloakroom where tourists will be able to deposit their belongings before venturing into the sea. “The charges will be very minimal, say, the minimum will be Rs 5 for using the urinal and the maximum Rs 25 for a freshwater shower. Our aim is not to earn anything from the project but is to offer our tourists a much-needed facility and ensure that our beaches remain clean,” the GTDC managing director added.
Mr Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of Sulabh International, has welcomed the Goa government move. “Putting up toilets, bathrooms is a welcome move and is very appreciable. But the crucial thing is their maintenance.”Appreciating the initiative, Kolkata-based environmentalist, Subhash Dutta, said that West Bengal should emulate this for its sea fronts. “During the last Gangasagar Mela, 459 makeshift toilets were dug around Maidan in Kolkata and after the pilgrims left, the place remained scattered with faeces. I hope good sense will prevail upon our state government and like Goa, it will also install washrooms on our beaches such as Digha, Mandarmani and Bakkhali and save them from getting polluted day after day,” Mr Dutta said.
(The author is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This is an elaborate version of a report that first appeared in The Statesman on 6 November 2013 under a different headline.)