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Goa village ‘suspends’ tourist photography tax

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Panaji, Nov 7 (IANS) Days after amateur shutterbugs on shoe-string budgets thought they have lost their opportunity to capture the scenic beauty of Goa, the panchayat in North Goa’s Parra, the ancestral village of former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, has scrapped a controversial tax levied on tourists.

Parra is best known for its scenic road lined with coconut trees, often serves as a backdrop in several Bollywood films, including the Shahrukh Khan-starrer ‘Dear Zindagi’.

The decision to levy the tax ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 500 had triggered a controversy in Goa, after an outraged local resident published a photo of the panchayat’s signage announcing the tax and uploaded a video of tourists being levied the fee, on social media.

Talking to IANS on Wednesday, sarpanch of the Parra village panchayat Delilah Lobo said the decision to impose the "Swachhta tax" on those taking photos and selfies along the scenic coconut palm-lined road, was not made in order to earn revenue, but to deter tourists from being a nuisance on the narrow road, which often led to traffic jams and garbage being strewn around.

"We have suspended the tax for now. The idea behind the tax was not to earn revenue for the village panchayat, but to deter tourists and photographers from holding up traffic along the narrow road during their shoots and throwing garbage around the place," Lobo said.

The tax had also irked travel and tourism industry stakeholders in Goa, who had expressed concern that such a tax may be emulated in other coastal villages, which would deter tourists from visiting the areas.

 

 

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