Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar on Thursday said his department has not granted any permission for imposition of a 'Swachhta Tax' on clicking photographs in the scenic Parra village of North Goa district.
Ajgaonkar told PTI that the tourism department will probe how the panchayat of Parra, which is the ancestral village of late chief minister Manohar Parrikar, was levying such a tax. The matter came to light on Wednesday after some Goa-based activists took to social media to highlight that the panchayat of Parra village, located about nine km from here, had started levying tax on clicking pictures or shooting videos in its jurisdiction.
A sign board put up prominently on the main road of the village reads: "Swacchta Tax/Mission Clean Parra Tax will be levied on all film shoots and photo shoots. Tax will vary for individuals and commercials." Taking serious note of it, Ajgaonkar said, "My department has not granted any permission for imposition of such a tax. We will inquire into this."
"If every panchayat starts imposing its own taxes like this, it would be harmful for the state's tourism potential," the minister said. However, a representative of the Parra village panchayat, on condition of anonymity, said the tax was imposed as tourists leave behind lot of garbage and litter the place.
"The fund raised through the tax would be used to clean the place. We don't want to depend on the government to sanction money to keep our place clean. We are doing it through our own resources by levying the tax," he said. Parra is one of the scenic villages located in the North Goa beach belt.