Admitting that the recent deaths of tourists by way of
drowning was due to shortage of manpower, Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar,
on Friday, asked the Drishti Lifesaving to deploy
required lifeguards at the beaches across the state failing which he threatened to terminate its contract.
“I know 100 per cent that there is a shortage of manpower, and tourists have died on beaches because of that. I have told Drishti to deploy required lifeguards and save the lives of tourists. We don’t want tourists to suffer and there is no question of compromising here,” Ajgaonkar said while interacting with media persons at Porvorim.
“And, if they (Drishti Lifesaving) fail to ensure the safety of the tourists then I will not give a thought and go ahead and terminate their contract and float a new tender,” he added.
The Tourism Minister informed that a section of lifeguards is on strike over a dispute with the management of Drishti Lifesaving.
“Striking lifeguards are demanding regularisation of their services in which I cannot intervene as it is a private agency and not directly affiliated to the government. I told them that other issues like non-payment of salary and annual bonus can be resolved by me but they are not ready to listen,” Ajgaonkar said, adding that he should not be held responsible if Drishti Lifesaving dismisses them from the service.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued here, the lifesaving agency said that a team of 20 newly recruited lifeguards, who have completed training have been added to the workforce, and have been posted at various locations across the coast.
Drishti is willing to continue the employment of a
majority of the
lifeguards who have stayed away from work, reads the statement, adding, “Misguided lifeguards who have stayed away from work are holding the state of Goa hostage by compromising public safety. The lifeguards have well-paid jobs. It›s sad to see them being misled with false promises. No dues to lifeguards are outstanding.”