The Goa tourism department is in the process of raising a special tourist security force in the wake of crimes against tourists in the state especially foreign women tourists.
Speaking to reporters in Panaji on Tuesday, state tourism minister Mickky Pacheco said the force would comprise ex-servicemen specially recruited to safeguard the lakhs of tourists who visit Goa annually.
“The special force will be guarding the beaches, something which is presently done by the state police,” Pacheco said, adding that the special security force proposal had already been approved by the finance department of the state government.
“We are looking at posting the first batch of sixty-odd special security guards along the popular beaches in Goa soon,” Pacheco said, adding that the special force personnel would serve as wardens, instead of policemen.
“They are part of the government set up. Whenever required, they can coordinate with the police. They don’t need policing powers,” Pacheco told reporters.
The rape of a nine-year-old Russian girl on Jan 26 triggered a nationwide media debate on the safety of women tourists in Goa. The union tourism ministry had shot off a letter to the state government seeking details on the issue of safety of tourists in the state.
The Russian embassy had also warned of issuing a tourist advisory against Goa, if the state authorities did not spruce up their act.
Earlier, a 25-year-old Russian woman was allegedly raped by a Goan politician in December last year.
Police have also been unable to crack the mysterious death of Russian teenager Elena Sukhonova, whose mangled body was found on the railway tracks near Thivim, 25 km from Panaji.
Goa receives nearly two million tourists annually, nearly half a million of which are foreigners.