MUMBAI, India – In the aftermath of multiple incidents involving crimes against tourists in the state and travel advisories issued by multiple countries against India, the Department of Tourism, Government of Goa has constituted strict measures to safeguard tourist safety, especially women travellers.
One of the initiatives taken by the department specifically for women is setting up of a Tourist Police Force comprising 200-250 IRB (Indian Reserve Battalion) Police. Around 50 of them will be lady constables. Tourism Minister of Goa, Shri Dilip Parulekar has said that the department is also contemplating formation of all women Police team for night patrolling to instil confidence among women tourists and to intervene in any emergency situation. “The Police staff which has been drawn from the Indian Reserve Battalion force,has been sensitized and trained to deal with the safety and security requirements especially of women travellers visiting the State.
Apart from this, the department has also appointed night patrolling teams with one team deployed each in North and South Goa. The team comprising of one PSI (Police Sub Inspector) along with supported staff of six to eight constables will operate from sunset to midnight every day of the week.
Other measures include constitution of two flying squads, one each for North and South Goa. “They have been conferred Executive Magistrate Powers which means they have the power to take action or pass orders on the spot,” Shri Parulekar said. He added that for a more holistic safety of tourists, the department has also set up Surveillance and Monitoring Teams (SMTs) led by Assistant Tourists Officers. “There will be one for each district and they will keep a check on all illegalities. They are empowered to inspect any hotel/shack/any place of business related to tourists at any time,” the Tourism Minister said.
Also in consideration is uploading a list of all authorized private hotels on the Goa Tourism website (http://www.goa-tourism.com/) along with travel vendors like tour operators, travel agents, etc, so that the tourists can stay only in Government recognized/ registered guest houses/ hotels.
The department is also keen on demarcating separate swimming zones – one for men and one for women, couples and families. One such pool is already in operation in Baga on trial basis. All beaches in Goa will soon be covered under night patrolling where trained lifeguards will keep a close watch till midnight from specially constituted watch towers to intervene in case of any emergency. The Tourism Minister is hopeful that these measures will help in controlling and preventing crimes against tourists remarkably.