PANAJI, India- The Indian holiday state of Goa says it has banned foreigners from working in beach shack bars and restaurants after receiving several complaints of discrimination against domestic tourists.
The policy stops any foreigner from owning, running or even working in beach shacks serving food and drink, irrespective of whether they hold Indian employment visas.
“There will be regular checking of the shacks to ensure that it is not sub-let by the original licensee to a foreigner,” Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters in the state capital Panaji on Wednesday as he announced the new measure.
He said the government had received complaints of discrimination against Indians in shacks run by foreigners.
“We will not allow any discrimination and anyone forced to face it should complain to the government. Strict action would be taken,” he added.
Goa, with its long sandy beaches and laid-back atmosphere, has been a haven for tourists for decades, but officials in the former Portuguese colony appear to be cracking down on outsiders hoping to move there.
In June, Parrikar led a delegation to New Delhi requesting special powers to restrict land sales, fearing Goa’s identity was being submerged by “unrestricted immigration” as newcomers flock to set up retirement and holiday homes.
In recent years the southwestern state has stopped signing sale deeds for foreigners seeking properties, although it is technically allowed if they have business visas and the sale involves non-agricultural land.
Earlier this month, Goa also announced a ban on dance bars, further restricting the party scene in a destination once famous as a raver’s paradise.
The state has increasingly tightened controls on nightclubs and outdoor parties over the past few years after a series of high-profile crimes including the rape and murder of British teenager Scarlett Keeling in 2008.
Amid fears that beach shacks are being used as drug dens, the government has made it mandatory for owners to install CCTV cameras. The footage must be kept for 30 days for viewing by authorities if needed, Parrikar said.