Goa’s unique beach management and lifeguard services innovation has spurred other state governments in India to emulate the example, an official said here Friday.
Coastal states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu as well as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are beginning to wake up to the idea of handing over lifeguard services to professional agencies for operations and management and prevent drowning deaths, said V.K.Tanwar, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Drishti Beach Management Services (DBMS).
"The Maharashtra government has already advertised a tender for providing professional lifeguard services along its 840-km long coastline. The city of Mumbai is also looking at a similar operation, so is Chennai and even the Andamans," Tanvar told IANS.
Goa was the first state in the country to privatise beach management and lifeguard services along the coastline in 2008.
Since then, the drowning deaths along Goa’s popular beaches have shrunk drastically from approximately 100-plus a year to about just a dozen a year, said State Tourism Director Swapnil Naik.
"I remember before 2008, it was nearly 100 a year, but now the number has averaged down to 9 to 14 drowning deaths in the last few years. The number of drowning deaths has come down even though the number of tourists visiting Goa has increased annually," Naik said.
According to Tanvar, a retired naval commander who handles operations for the DBMS, unlike any other coastal stretch in the country, Goa’s well-endowed and infrastructurally sound beaches are its biggest USP.
"Goa is the best role model for such a lifeguard service because its beaches are the USP. The seas are good, there’s plenty of food and beverages available on the beaches. Access is easy. The state government has had the boldness to take this decision to hire a service like ours to prevent deaths on beaches," Tanvar said.
The state government annually pays Rs.18 crore to the DBMS for its beach management and lifeguard services.