The bunker was built during World War II
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Sweeping views of beaches and a dynamic nightlife has invited thousands of tourists to Goa every year. The tourism industry is one of the largest drivers of the state economy, supported by various businesses run by locals and immigrants. The village of Cana Benaulim in South Goa is however unhappy with this distribution and has formally resolved a ban on migrant-run tourist businesses. The resolution passed by the Gram Sabha of Cana Benaulim Panchayat bans licenses granted to immigrants for any tourist business, from fishing to restaurants.
The reason cited was that the current arrangement results in a lack of business opportunities for the local youth, as well as brings up law and order issues. While there has been building tension between locals and migrants (specifically the Banjara community), the trigger for the move was a taxi service of the community that was allegedly involved in activities that violated the law.
According to newspaper reports, the resolution mentions, “That the interest of locals in traditional coastal occupations and services like fishing, shack operations, tourist taxi operations, garment and jewellery business, salons and massage parlours, restaurant business, etc., should be protected and others should not be allowed to run these activities, directly or indirectly”. The locals believe that the operations of the migrants change the demography and add burden to the limited infrastructure.
Additionally, the document also alleges that migrant communities are engaged in illegal activities and that it must be investigated under the Indian penal code.
Furthermore, the resolution says, “The very identity of a Goan is at risk. This uncontrolled migration must be checked immediately through lawful means by the Panchayat and the Government of Goa on the whole".
There are thousands of Banjara settlers on the coastline, who participate in the seasonal business of selling trinkets and handmade clothing. The Banjara Samaj has 1.5 lakh members of the community. Suresh Rajput, the president of the Goa Banjara Samaj responded to the resolution saying, “The locals from Benaulim think we are against them and are taking away their business. But no one wants to go against the local people. We do not want to do business by upsetting local customs. But this incident is unfortunate because it started with one taxi operator. And now others from the community are being made a scapegoat”.
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