Cross-massage comes under panel scanner


PANAJI: Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Thursday announced the formation of a core committee to examine whether the government could allow cross-gender massage in Goa or not.

Speaking to media persons, Rane said the committee will comprise  North Goa SP Chandan Chowdhary; North Goa collector Nila Mohanan; director of health services Sanjiv Dalvi and a representative of the Goa State Commission for Women.

“The main issue before the committee would  be how to  strengthen the Public Health Act and to study  measures for  preventing illegalities and criminal activities allegedly taking place in spas. As Goa is a tourist state we have to decide whether cross-massage should be allowed or not…,” he stated.

He said that there was a need for an amendment to the Goa Public Health Act as there has been  lack of clarity about the law and powers that are bifurcated among different government departments.

Rane will propose before the government imposition of  fines up to Rs 1  lakh and termination of licences in case of spas found involved in any irregularities. He said that spa owners should not be worried if there are no illegalities like prostitution and exploitation of employees.

“I am going have a dialogue with the spa association before taking any decision as their business is linked to tourism. There are also some shady elements in the business whose licence should be cancelled for violating the law by running prostitution racket,” he said.

Stating that the spa owners will be asked to mandatorily provide the information of the employees, Rane announced that the government will soon start a helpline for the spa staff.

The government will soon consider 4,000 applications under the Griha Aadhaar scheme, he said adding  that ‘Swavalamban scheme’ will be launched for self-help groups and mahila mandals to provide a grant of Rs 30,000 annually.

The government will make ‘budgetary allocation’ of  Rs 2 crore to provide additional benefits, including  an interest-free loan to the SHGs.

Rane said that foreigners will now be charged 100 per cent of the cost payable at the ‘A’ category hospitals notified under the Deen Dayal Swasthya Seva Yojana

The Bambolim-based Goa Medical College and Hospital could  earn   revenue of Rs 12 crore by end of this year, he said.