Anti-SEZ group asks tourists to leave Goa by Dec 28


PANAJI (eTN) – Goa’s Movement Against SEZs (GMAS), a body comprising NGOs and political parties including main Opposition BJP, on Sunday asked tourists to leave the state by December 28 since their agitation would be intensified and it could take an ugly turn.

“GMAS wishes the people to have a peaceful Christmas after which it will request the tourists to leave the state since their agitation will be intensified and it could take an ugly turn,” Convenor of the organisation Mathany Saldanha said on Sunday afternoon.

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The organisation, holding rallies and meetings across Goa for over a month to protest proposed SEZs in the coastal state, has also called upon the people to be prepared to make ‘sacrifice’ in forgoing their New Year’s celebration.

“This is required in order to safeguard the future of their children and their identity,” Saldanha said.

GMAS’ call may come as a major setback to the tourism industry which has been eagerly awaiting to encash on the New Year’s celebrations. The group’s move attains significance as parties like BJP and Shiv Sena are part of the anti-SEZ stir.

Goa’s Congress-led Government has notified two SEZs while five more had already been approved by the Centre. Eight more proposals are pending with the Centre.

Chief Minister Digamber Kamat had said early this week that he would consult all the stakeholders before deciding on SEZs.

“Intensification of agitation is much against our will but the obstinacy of the government is leading GMAs to take recourse to these measures,” Saldanha said.