At least 15,000 youth from Mumbai unable to attend Goa Carnival 2013 due to non-availability of reasonably priced transport on Thursday and Friday – SpeakGoa Survey in Mumbai
South Goa Congress MP Francisco Sardinha hits out at CCP and CM Manohar Parrikar for lack of inter-state travel arrangements for the Carnival.
Estimated Rs 5 crore loss in overall business in Goa during Carnival 2013 due to scarcity of reasonably priced transport – SpeakGoa study.
Saturday, February 09, 2013, Panjim, Goa: Thousands of Mumbaikars and Goan youth working in Mumbai are stranded and unable to attend the Carnival celebrations in their home state over the weekend for lack of available transport. The AC and non-AC tourist bus operators have more than doubled the fares and some bus operators were charging Rs 2500-Rs 3000 for an AC Volvo bus semi-sleeper bus ticket from Mumbai to Goa. The normal fare is Rs 700 to Rs 800 and can go as low as Rs 500 on non-peak week days. However, the bus operators like Neeta Volvo, VRL and many others were charging nothing less than Rs 1200 even for those who booked the tickets a week in advance. On Thursday, the fare went up to Rs 1800 per seat and on Friday evening some travel agents who had tickets available were charging up to Rs 2500 per seat. The rate for a Volvo sleeper seat from Borivili in suburban Mumbai to Goa was quoted at Rs 3000, says Salvador De Costa of SpeakGoa who conducted a survey in the Goan-dominated areas of Mumbai like Borivili and Dhobi Talao at Marine Lines.
The results of a survey and study conducted by SpeakGoa shows that approximately the State of Goa will loose Rs 5 crore in overall business in the coming week due to the scarcity of good, reasonably priced inter-state connectivity during the Goa Carnival 2013 and about 15,000 to 25,000 youth from Mumbai who would have loved to be in Goa over the weekend could not make it only due to the non availability of reasonably priced transport. Youngsters earning approximately Rs 25,000 a month in Mumbai cannot afford to pay 20 per cent of their month’s salary only on travel. Even those who made it to Goa have drastically reduced their expenditure in Goa.
According to SpeakGoa, there are over 50,000 Goan youngsters who work in Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore in call centres and financial services sector. Most of these youth wanted to attend the Carnival celebrations in the State but were unable to make it due to the last minute hike in bus fares, opined De Costa. SpeakGoa will submit a memorandum to the Department of Tourism, the Tourism Minister and the Chief Minister’s office on Monday, De Costa added.
When SpeakGoa brought this to the notice of South Goa Congress MP Francisco Sardinha he said, “The BJP-led State Government is to blame for the non-availability of cheap transport for Goans working in cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune. The Government should have approached the Centre or the Railways and arranged for a few special trains from Bangalore and Mumbai which should have been well-publicized in advance to enable Goans to make bookings. During election rallies and other political events, all political parties arrange buses to ferry supporters. Why couldn’t the CCP or the Carnival Committee in conjunction with the Department of Tourism arrange special buses from Mumbai to Goa. SpeakGoa figures show that its not just Goans but the state has been deprived of at least two lakh tourists from all over India who would have loved to attend the Carnival celebrations provided reasonably priced transport could have been made available over the weekend. “On one hand we crib that there are not enough quality tourists but we make no attempts to help them get reasonably priced transport and accommodation,” Sardinha said. Several other MLAs both from the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress in Goa admitted that the travel fares were a huge deterrent to the medium-budget Indian tourist and was a cause for concern.
SpeakGoa will file a PIL in the High Court of Bombay at Goa on the predatory pricing tactics employed by inter-state Tourist Bus operators during the Goa Carnival and during the Christmas and New Year season. These operators double and triple the rates, creating a black market for tickets instead of trying to match the demand for seats by temporarily increasing the number of buses on the sector. “These tourists’ and travel operators are killing the goose that lays the golden egg when it comes to tourism in Goa. Traveling fares have become so expensive that tourists have to spend more on travel than what they would spend on staying in Goa for 2-3 days. An air ticket from Mumbai to Goa even on a low cost airline was Rs 12,000 per person on Friday making it impossible even for the medium budget tourist to fly to Goa for the Carnival. Full service airlines were charging Rs 15,000 on Thursday, on Friday the Mumbai-Goa fare went up to Rs 18,000/-, said De Costa. How will Goa get more tourists, if the to-and-fro fares are so high and the State does not do anything about it, demanded SpeakGoa?
NOTE TO MEDIA PERSONS: THE STUDY QUOTED IN THE PRESS RELEASE ABOVE WAS CONDUCTED BY 8 SPEAK GOA VOLUNTEERS WHO ARE ANALYSTS / PROFESSORS / EXPERTS IN BUSINESS MANAGEMENT, MARKETS & ECONOMY WITH ABOUT AN AVERAGE EXPERIENCE OF OVER 25 YEARS EACH IN THEIR RESPECTIVE FIELDS AND WELL-VERSED WITH THE STATE OF GOA. AS THEY ARE ASSOCIATED WITH VARIOUS PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS THEY HAVE PREFERRED ANONYMITY. SPEAKGOA HAS HENCE WITHHELD THE NAMES OF THE RESEARCHERS AND ANALYSTS. SPEAKGOA IS A SOCIAL FORUM ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN SPREADING AWARENESS ON ECONOMIC AND CIVIC ISSUES IN GOA.