The Goa government would provide compensation to shacks having legal validity, for the damages suffered during the Cyclone Ockhi last week. The shack owners, whose establishments suffered damages following high tide during the cyclone, had earlier decided to approach the state tourism department to seek compensation for their losses. The office of North Goa’s district magistrate had also done a preliminary assessment of the damage caused in Pernem and Bardez talukas, where several prominent beaches, including Morjim, Arambol, Candolim, Baga and Calangute, are located, an official release earlier said. State revenue minister Rohan Khaunte yesterday said he is still waiting for the reports from collectors of North Goa and South Goa districts to ascertain the exact amount of losses suffered by the shacks. He said the state government is clear in its stand that only those shacks which have legal validity would be provided the compensation. After the devastating high tide, the tourism business, meanwhile, is getting back to normal with Christmas and New Year celebrations around the corner. “The shack owners have almost finished reconstructing their structures which were washed away due to the ingress of water. The business is getting normal on the coast. We have tourists coming in,” Manuel Cardoso, the general secretary of Goa Traditional Shack Owners’ Association told PTI yesterday. He said shack owners have spent from their savings to ensure the business is not lost during the peak season. “The claims for the compensations would be filed from tomorrow onwards,” Cardoso added.
The state government has said that the affected shack owners would be compensated after a proper survey is conducted jointly by officials of tourism and revenue departments and coastal zone management authority. However, some shack owners are wary of filing claims as they fear being blacklisted by the tourism department for running their establishments in zones prone to natural calamities. A senior official of the tourism department, however, said the shacks, whose cases will be taken up for compensation, will not be blacklisted. “If they are illegal, then they will not be getting compensation and will face action. But if they are legal they need not worry,” he said.