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Massive inspection exercise of water sports facilities in Goa on anvil
December 25, 2010

Massive inspection exercise of water sports facilities in Goa on anvil


25 December 2010

Panaji: Stung by the death of the 21-year-old medical student last week, the state government will conduct a massive inspection exercise of all water sports activities in Goa shortly.

A meeting to discuss the issue was convened by chief secretary Sanjay Srivastava on Thursday with all concerned heads of the related departments in attendance.

At the meeting were officials from the tourism department, captain of ports and the marine police. Government officials examined existing laws on water sports and the effectiveness of their implementation.

Officials also perused notifications demarcating zones for water sports on the state's beaches. "Copies of these notified places on beaches were exchanged among the government departments. It has been decided that a joint inspection will be held by all related agencies - the tourism department, the captain of ports and the marine police," said tourism director Swapnil Naik.

"The inspection may be conducted next week. However, the date has not yet been fixed," he added. The tourism department has also compiled a list of water sports operators in Goa and sent copies to the captain of ports and the marine police.

A change in approach to better implementation of water sports zones was also suggested. "Currently, we use flags to demarcate boundaries between swimming zones and water sports zones. These flags are on the beach, as well as poles are erected in shallow areas. However, we intend on procuring plastic floating barricades which will be kept in the sea. This should give swimmers and water sports operators a better idea if they are stepping out of limits," Naik said.

The government has come under pressure since the death of Shrey Makhija, a student from at Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi, who came to Goa with a group of friends on December 14. Last Saturday afternoon, Makhija, along with six friends, went to Baga beach where two of them hired an eight-seater motorboat.

Makhija's friends put the blame squarely on the water sports operator. Satish Shukla, a final year MBBS student, recounted that the group were offered a 'bumper ride' claiming it meant a 'bump' by 'jumping over the waves'.

Shukla says that Makhija and a friend, Sanjay Raut, were sitting in a boat which was tied with a rope to a motorboat. "When the ride was about to conclude, the boat driver drove rashly to the shore which was crowded. Suddenly, he took a sharp turn and collided with a stationary boat and both my friends fell into the water and suffered severe injuries," Raut said.

The police arrested boat owner A Thinock and driver Appa Maruthi under Section 280 (rash navigation of vessel) and Section 304 A (death by negligence) of IPC.