An MLA belonging to the Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party (MGP), the alliance partner of BJP in Goa government, has sparked off a controversy with his demand for demarcation of a private ‘paid’ beach where women would be allowed to wear bikinis. The legislator observed that such a dedicated beach will not only help in “curbing” any loss in tourism revenue in case of any ban on the swim-wear, but on the contrary will boost the revenue from tourism. “If some legislators feel that demanding a ban on bikinis would result in the revenue loss due to fall in tourism then the state government can notify a bikini beach,” MGP MLA Lavu Mamlatdar said here today. When probed further about his demand, Mamlatdar said, “Don’t you understand, I am saying this sarcastically.”
Mamlatdar’s ruling party colleague and Public Works Department minister Ramakrishna Dhavalikar had first triggered a controversy last month when he demanded a ban on bikinis, mini-skirts and pubs in Goa because these were “against Indian culture”, but backed off after Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar ruled out any such possibility. He, however, reiterated his demand recently.
“The state government can impose a fee, say Rs 1000-2000, for those willing to use the beach so that apprehensions of some legislators that state will be deprived of revenue (in case of ban) are also addressed to,” said the legislator who represents Ponda constituency. Mamlatdar, a retired police officer, had raised this demand for a “pay per enter beach” in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday while speaking on the Demands for Grants to the Tourism department.
Meanwhile, State Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar distanced himself from the comments made by Mamlatdar, saying it was his personal opinion. “Everybody can express his or her own views on any subject. Whatever he has said in the Assembly was his personal view and government has nothing to do with it. It is not compulsory for government to take a cognisance of his views,” Parulekar told a news channel.