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Posted on Feb 26, 03:55PM | IBNS
By John Edwards, Panaji, Feb 26 : Cracking down on unauthorized photographers along Goa's 105-km beach belt has triggered a debate following demands from a batch of Tourist Photographers' to register them under the All Goa Tourist Trade (AGTT) Act. The Tourism Department has planned an extensive exercise to cleanse the coastal stretch from the flourishing illegal entrepreneurs, whose existence is a threat to the security of tourists and their belongings. Scores of persons with professional cameras round their neck have become a nuisance to the tourists. As per tourism department, some 200 illegal operating photographers loiter on the beaches troubling visitors. "These photographers have no license for carrying out their trade. They charge a hefty Rs 50 or 100 per photograph clicked against the sunset or any picturesque scenery," an official said.
Nearly half a dozen illegal photographers were caught and fined Rs 10,000 each by the tourism department in the recent past.
The All Goa Tourist Photographers' Association has however rubbished the harassment accusation and demanded registration of its members numbering 12 so far. Member Satish Wankhade asserted that people under his association are genuine.
"How are my association members responsible for the other erring photographers on the beaches?" Wankhade questioned. "We have never created problems for the tourists and now we have stopped the trade due to the raids. The government should act fast to register us."
The tourism department is now in a fix as the existing All Goa Tourist Trade Act does not have any provision to register the photographers.