In what could be a double-edged sword, the Goan government has decided to install surveillance cameras across the state's beaches, popular among tourists and holidayers, both Indians and foreigners.
The move has been prompted by concerns of women's safety at Goa's beaches but could potentially hit tourist arrivals, which stood at over five million in 2015.
"GTDC (Goa Tourism Development Corporation) has also proposed for electronic surveillance on beaches and same is approved by the tourism ministry under Swadesh Darshan Scheme," Goa tourism minister Dilip Parulekar told the state assembly on Tuesday, reported IANS.
The state government has set aside Rs. 3.61 crore for the project that will bring all Goan beaches under a comprehensive network of cctv cameras, according to Parulekar. The project will be spearheaded by Goa Electronics Limited.
In the initial phase, the project will cover Baga, Calangute, Candolim, Vagator and Anjuna beaches situated in North Goa.
However, installation of surveillance cameras could also be seen as intruding into tourists' space, besides the risk of misuse by those in charge, thereby hurting business. Just a month ago, both the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress created a furore when they said Nigerians are creating problems for Goa and should be deported.
"Goans do not want Nigerians, because they riot, have a rough attitude and bad behaviour...We know Nigerians are involved in nefarious activities here," BJP spokesperson and MLA, Kiran Kandolkar, said at a press conference in Panaji on June 7.
A couple of days before Kandolkar's comments, former Goa CM and Congress leader Ravi Naik had demanded that Nigerians should be banned not jut from Goa, but the entire country.
Calangute is one of the most-popular beaches spread over seven km and located about 15 km from Goan capital Panaji. Also referred to as the "Queen of Beaches," it also serves as a base for tourists who book their visits to other beaches of the state.
Baga beach is longer, with a coastline stretching 30 km along the west coast of Goa by the Arabian Sea, beginning at Fort Aguada and merging into Calangute beach.
Tourist arrivals into the state last calendar year saw a surge in domestic visitors at 34 percent while foreign tourist arrivals rose by 5.4 percent, according to an update by the state's tourism department.