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Shack owners concerned over future of thousands of staff members


BENAULIM: In addition to a poor tourist season this year, shack owners now have another cause for concern with the lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of Corona Virus. Thousands of workers from shacks are still stuck in the state and are worried about the future and when they would be able to return home.

Speaking to this daily, president of the All Goa Private Shack Owners Association Cruz Cardozo said many workers from the shacks are still stuck in the state. “Almost all the shacks in the state have been stopped and nearly 60 percent of them are already demolished. But the biggest issue we are facing is that of our staff. Most of them are outsiders who want to get home but can’t because of the lockdown,” he said.

According to Cardozo an estimated 3,000 shack staff members, who come from other Indian states, are stranded in Goa and while some are managing on their own, shack owners are left to look after many.

“The staff and workers are also very worried and scared for their families back at their homes. Around 3,000 staff are still here in Goa and while some are managing on their own many are still dependent on the shack owners to provide them with food and living quarters, which becomes difficult because the supplies in the village are not enough,” said Cardozo.

Some staff members had left the state by the last flight on March 24 to their native states but with the flight and rail services coming to a halt, the remaining members were fearfully of leaving the state via the road as they were unsure of the strict measures being implemented across borders of other states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, where many originate from.
Earlier on Saturday, Cardozo spoke to the other members of the association and decided to seek the help regarding the situation with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.

Cavelossim based shack owner Edwin Baretto said he was also a worried shack owner. “I have already removed my shack from the beach, most owners already have but our only concern is of our staff as well as the tourists stuck here. I have around 20 staff members and around six foreigners who are stuck here in Cavelossim. The District Magistrate and the tourism department had earlier this week sent our circulars and come to meet the tourists that were stuck here and maybe they are figuring out a way to safely transport the tourists out of Goa once the lockdown in lifted, but what about our local staff workers?” said Baretto.

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