Coordinated approach needed to check tourist drowning: Pascheco

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Panaji, Aug 29 (UNI) Incidents of tourists drowning in Goan beaches had been on rise every year and this could be checked through a coordinated approach involving the stake holding departments, including tourism and home ministries, according to state tourism minister Francisco Pascheco.

Replying to different questions on the issue in the state legislative assembly today, the tourism minister said as many as 91 tourists, including six foreigners drowned in 2007 as against 65 in 2006 and 44 in 2005.

Apart from developing infrastructure and maintenance and cleaning of beaches, the authorities had recently entrusted the safety issue with Mumbai-based company M/s Drishti Special Response Services Pvt Ltd for raising 120 trained life guard force. It would be ready by October this year, the minister said.

The government was keen to bring down the deaths to zero at any cost, he said.

Joining chorus with the concern of the members on the declining number of tourists this year, the minister said efforts were underway to attract the tourists through various schemes besides strengthening the infrastructure facilities along the beaches.

Only 5.96 lakh tourists, including 1.8 lakh foreigners arrived in Goa this year till March as against 25.97 lakh in 2007 and 24.79 in 2006.

As many as 1.75 lakh tourists arrived through various chartered flights from abroad during 2007-08 season as against 1.69 lakh in the previous fiscal, Mr Pascheco said.

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