Current Affairs

DyCM and GTDC Chairman strengthen ties with Portugal

While some in the BJP-led government would like to loosen tie with the former colonial rulers of Goa (Vishnu Wagh and his statements on the Lusofonia Games), some like Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza prefer to think progressively and strengthen ties with Portugal.

Francis D’Souza, who returned from a trip to Portugal after attending the ‘Semana da Cultura’ has carried home lessons that Goa could implement in a number of ways including garbage disposal and beach cleaning.

GTDC chairman, Nilesh Cabral, who was also part of the Goan delegation, expressed hope that Goa and Portugal could tie-up and mutually boost tourism.

D’Souza said that he visited a solid waste treatment plant about 20 km from Lisbon that not only treats 2,000 tonnes of waste from 19 municipal councils on a single day, but also generates electricity.

In fact, 2 per cent of the electricity supplied to Lisbon is generated at this garbage disposal plant, D’Souza said.

The minister also checked up on Portugal’s beach cleaning system and notes that the Portuguese sanitize their beaches with a kind of medicine. “Portuguese beaches are number one in Europe, or so they claim. And they clean their beaches everyday,” D’Souza said.

He said that he has brought home a lot of literature and many ideas on what Goa could replicate in terms of urban development, tourism, etc. He said he will pursue these with chief minister Manohar Parrikar. D’Souza also reports that there are many Goans in Portugal who are willing to cooperate in such endeavours with their land of origin.

The Goan tourism delegation led by Nilesh Cabral was met by high-level officials from the government of Portugal. “Representatives of our tourism trade were very happy because for the first time, they could meet top level officials including Cecilia Meireles, the secretary of state for tourism in the Portuguese government,” Cabral said.

As of now, the Portuguese tourism trade does not send tourists to Goa but only to Rajasthan. Cabral said the Goan delegation also met officials of the Portuguese airline, TAP Portugal, and requested them to commence scheduled flights to Goa. The Goan delegation has further requested a Portuguese delegation, that is scheduled to visit Delhi in November, to also visit Goa in order to have a first-hand look and for further talks on a tourism tie-up.

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