Goa Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai today said 50 years after saving itself from merging with Maharashtra, the state was looking at a scenario of being gobbled from within due to the increasing presence of non-Goans in its tourism sector.
Sardesai released a video message on online platforms after he was quoted by certain sections of the media as terming domestic tourists "scum of the earth".
Stating that he was quoted out of context, the minister said, "I had not called all the 6.5 million tourists visiting Goa the scum of the earth. I had said certain sections of them were creating nuisance and were actually the scum of the earth and that we should not have such tourists in Goa."
Stating that this small section was creating nuisance, he said these people had no civic sense and were littering and creating a garbage problem in the state.
The minister, who heads the Goa Forward Party, added that there was a need for "quality" tourists in the coastal state, so that the local population also benefited.
Stating that Goa's development model was about "low density, high cost", Sardesai said, it was not about quantity, but quality.
"We want to retain the unique identity of Goa when it comes to architecture, ethos, tolerance, but at the same time, we do not want to develop Goa in a way that it is only about numbers and not about quality.
"Tourism is also not left with the Goans. Fifty years back, some people were trying to merge Goa with Maharashtra, but now we are looking at a scenario where we are gobbled up from within and we will have to espouse these sentiments," he added.
Claiming that there was a general feeling among Goans that the state's tourism should be re-oriented to what it was before, Sardesai said, "I am speaking on behalf of the people of Goa. We may be laidback but we will not be laidback about this. I cannot be apologetic about this. My party is willing to bell the cat."
He also clarified that it was not about xenophobia, but that he was about speaking for what the Goans believed in.