Panaji, Nov 5 (IANS) Tourists visiting Parra, a picturesque village in North Goa, best known for being the ancestral village of former Defence Minister – late Manohar Parrikar – will now be charged for taking photographs of the coconut palm-lined scenic landscape which is often featured in Bollywood films.
The imposition of a fee on tourists taking a single photograph ranges from Rs 100 to Rs 500, in the guise of a ‘Swachhta tax’ by the Parra village panchayat, has been severely criticised by tourism industry stakeholders, who want the “unfair” trend to be “nipped in the bud”.
Signages of the village panchayat notice which reads, “Swachhta tax/Mission Clean Parra Tax will be levied on all film shoots, photo shoots, etc. Tax will vary from individuals and commercials” went viral on Tuesday, after tourists were made to shell out Rs 100 to Rs 500, for taking amateur photographs at a coconut tree-lined road, which has been popularised in several Bollywood films like ‘Dear Zindagi’ and international films.
“This is a really poor trend because of which tourists will be harassed. It has to be nipped in the bud, before other villages emulate such a tax,” president of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa Savio Messias told IANS.
The trend went viral after a villager, Paul Fernandes, uploaded a video of a tourist who was charged Rs 500 for taking a single photo of his friend in Parra.
“Village panchayat officials made the tourist pay Rs 500 for taking a single photograph along the scenic road. They even gave him a receipt for the tax. This is something seriously wrong, which will deter tourists from coming to Goa,” Fernandes said.
Former sarpanch of Parra Benedict D’Souza also slammed the trend.
“This road features in Bollywood and Hollywood films. It is wrong on the part of the panchayat to charge a fee for a photo. It is God-given nature. If it is a commercial shoot, the panchayat can charge. But such a tax should not be levied on amateur tourists,” D’Souza said.
Parra village sarpanch Delilah Lobo said that tourists create a mess on the coconut-lined road.
“The tax has been levied to cut down on the nuisance created by tourists who use the road. They park their cars in the middle of the scenic road and take photos. There are traffic jams because of it,” Lobo said.
“Indian mentality only understands fines. Therefore we have imposed a fine to cut down on this nuisance caused by tourists,” she said.