Goa’s lifeguards threaten strike, ESMA invoked

Panaji, Nov 19 (IANS) The Goa government Wednesday invoked the Essential Services Management Act (ESMA) even as an association of lifeguards at the state’s beaches threatened to go on strike from Friday.

The invocation of ESMA renders any strike by lifeguards illegal on the beaches and inland waterways where lifeguard services are provided by the tourism department.

“Lifeguard services are very critical for ensuring the safety of tourists on the beaches. Any attempt to disrupt the services will be sternly dealt with,” Tourism Director Ameya Abhyankar said.

Goa’s several hundred lifeguards had announced their decision to go on strike following the sacking of 11 colleagues. They want them reinstated.

The lifeguards are in the employ of a private company which has been outsourced beach management responsibilities by the tourism department.

Goa is a leading beach tourism destination in India and the strike calls comes at a time when its tourism season is just taking off.

Goa is set to host two major events in the coming days: the Exposition of Spanish Saint St. Francis Xavier next week and the International Film Festival of India which takes off Thursday.

Goa attracts three million tourists annually.

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