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Government Plans Skyscraper In Baga's Coastal Regulation Zone

01 June 2012
Candolim: In a bid to cash in on the popularity of Goa as a tourist destination, the Goa Tourism department has finalized a plan to put up a 35-storeyed viewing tower in the beach belt in Baga's coastal regulation zone (CRZ) on the lines of viewing towers in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The 44-metre tower will have a restaurant on the 25th floor, besides shopping emporia, cafes and other facilities for tourists on other floors, tourism minister Dilip Parulekar confirmed to TOI. "I've been to viewing towers in Singapore and Hong Kong. Thousands visit them everyday and a lot of revenue is generated from ticket sales and other facilities. A tower like this will be good for Goa," the minister added.

The proposal is yet to get the mandatory CRZ approvals and the Union defence ministry approval, but the tourism minister said "By October we hope to get all approvals. The government agencies have to give a special approval for this project to take tourism forward. We have to take tourism in Goa to the next level," Parulekar said.

When pointed out that there are have been opposition to such a project in the past, Parulekar asked "If people start objecting to everything new, then how can we carry tourism forward?"

"The plan has been prepared and the process to get approval started," Parulekar said. Goa coastal zone management authority (GCZMA) has inspected the site and a report is to be submitted for a final decision. "Approval has been granted in principle and authorities want to verify the position of the project on the ground," tourism director Swapnil Naik said.

Tourism department has 48,000 sq m of land in its possession in Baga, of which around 10% will be utilized for the project, while the rest will be used for parking and other facilities. If all approvals are in place by October, the viewing tower should be a reality in about three years, Parulekar said. The central government has sanctioned Rs 9.5 crore for this project, Parulekar added.

A viewing tower had been first planned by the previous Congress-led government, but the project didn't take off. The BJP-led government has revived the project after taking office in March this year.

Apart from the viewing tower, there are also plans to create a roundabout at the Baga end of the road which now ends in a cul-de-sac. The area is also going to be beautified with a garden and fountain, apart from constructing changing rooms for the benefit of tourists.