MARGAO – Foreign tourists catching the sun on the sands of Benaulim were witness to a novel and amusing form of protest on Monday, when tourist taxi
operators literally went begging for justice.
In a form of Gandhigiri, tourist taxi operators, holding placards denouncing the government’s indifferent attitude to their grievances and holding a coconut shell (kotti) in their hands to serve as a begging bowl, approached foreign tourists at the beach.
While gleefully accepting the ‘alms’ generously dropped into the begging bowl by the holidaying tourists, the group distributed handbills listing their demands pending with the government and highlighting the “injustice” meted out to them by tour operators.
The tourist taxi operators “begged” of the tourists “to avoid fancy services and use local restaurants and shacks”. “Please use tourist taxi services which charge official government rates rather than the services of tour operators who charge exorbitant rates in dollars and pounds,” the handbills distributed by the group said.
The taxi operators attempted to drive home their point that “tourism had destroyed the livelihood of the locals without creating alternative employment opportunities”.