MICHAEL VAZ, MERCES
It is a bygone conclusion that Goa, reckoned the world over as a paradise on earth especially for tourists is steadily turning out to be a safe refuge for all sorts of illicit activities, particularly along the coastal belt, with all and sundry turning a blind eye to the clandestine affairs. Since the last few days there have been harrowing reports in the newspapers that is causing concern. None other than the Health Minister of the state has minced no words in saying that a number of food joints run by foreigners in the state are proving to be safe havens for drug peddling. Isn’t it shocking that the foreign tourists visiting the state have been acting with total impunity, which only goes to prove the sheer laxity in maintaining law and order in the state? Let us recollect that just last week the state was rocked by the news that an Austrian tourist, who had landed in India only in October, visited Goa and in no time succeeded in setting up a laboratory in his rented premises in Anjuna, manufacturing drugs and was running this business worth over a crore of rupees. What a shameful thing for the state that even foreigners, who are all new to the state are capable of managing the drug industry with such ease! It only goes to prove how prolific is the drug business in Goa. Prostitution rackets are busted in different parts of the state on regular basis. Next, whereas some states like Bihar and particularly Kerala, which is a great tourist destination like Goa, have in the recent past imposed prohibition to protect the people from the scourge of liquor and the havoc created in the families, here in Goa we are greatly pleased in opening liquor outlets even at the airport. Casino culture has been dominating and certainly it seems to be here to stay, with bold roadside advertisements soliciting customers to promote the gambling business. But then nothing seems to bother anyone for it is well known that at any rate tourism should flourish no matter what impact it has particularly on the young minds.