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During the weekend, Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar went in Colva Beach Square to kick off infrastructural upgrades at the world-famous venue.

He never set foot on the famed beach’s shimmering sands, but thundered during his speech that hawkers and sellers had no place on the entire coast. Ajgaonkar even went so far as to inform the media that the Goa government has enacted legislation prohibiting vending and merchants from operating on the beach strip.

It’s unknown whether Ajgaonkar’s warning reached the throngs of migrant hawkers and sellers who pack the world-famous beach at any given time. It’s also unclear whether Ajgaonkar listened to local MLA Churchill Alemao, who recently expressed his displeasure with the threat of migrant hawkers and sellers deterring tourists from visiting the beach.

Later, the Tourism Minister challenged the media to picture hawkers on Colva beach, claiming that tourism wardens, in addition to the police, are on the job to prevent hawking on the beach belt.

The ground reality has not changed as a result of Ajgaonkar’s strong assertion. Migrant hawkers and merchants frolic on Colva beach, leaving locals perplexed as to whether the Tourism Minister’s writ extends to the beach belt, or if he is merely deceiving the public with lofty statements about cracking down on hawking.

Residents ask the Tourism Minister to pay attention to local MLA Churchill Alemao’s address, in which he stated categorically that migrant hawkers have become a threat to tourists at the famed beach.

“The local MLA was unequivocal in declaring that migrant hawkers are all flocking on the Colva beach right under the noses of law-enforcement organisations, including the tourism police,” a local stated, urging the Tourism Minister to quit misleading the public and focus on meaningful action.

In fact, when confronted with the presence of hawkers on the iconic beach of Colva, the Tourism Minister directed his wrath at the media for failing to highlight the issue of hawking, oblivious to the fact that the tourism department has been oblivious to the threat of hawkers and vendors on the beach.

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