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Goa asks Russia to rein in their illegal ‘tourist’ activities


Russians run restaurants, pubs & taxi services in Goa on a tourist visa.

Come as tourists, leave as tourists, leave the business to the Goans is the message Goa is sending to Russia.

Goa’s chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar has conveyed to Alexey Novikov, the Russian consul general in Mumbai that Russian tourists in Goa indulging in illegal activities, including running businesses on a tourist visa – not the mandatory business/work visa – must stop.

There have been several instances in past tourism seasons of fallouts between locals and Russians, on account of the latter running restaurants, pubs, taxi services etc. This is especially in the northern coastal belt of Pernem, which includes the chief minister’s constituency, Mandrem.

Goa estimates that round 300,000 Russians visit it during the season and some are involved in businesses, illegally, which eat into the earnings of locals involved legally in tourism-related services. “I told him that Russians are running taxis, running restaurants, doing business, the only thing left is for them to become by voters,” said Parsekar.

While Russians are a close second to the British in the number of foreign visitors Goa receives, several are long-term visitors who have settled in the coastal belt of North Goa, particularly Morjim, carving out a ‘Little Russia’ there.

The recent parliamentary consultative committee meeting on coastal security, chaired by Union home minister Rajnath Singh, had taken note of the increasing activities of Russians and Israelis in Goa, which may be dangerous to coastal security.

On their part, the Russians have requested the Goa government for land towards the construction of a chapel in Goa so that Russian tourists, predominantly orthodox Christians, can go to and pray. Christmas, celebrated by Russians on January 6, is a big celebration for them.

Source: Times of India

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