Goa Governor Mridula Sinha Tuesday said her government was committed to make Goa open defecation free (ODF) by October 2 this year, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
During her customary address to the state Legislative Assembly on the first day of the Budget session, the governor also said that the overall tourist arrival in Goa has gone up by over 8 per cent.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was present on the floor of the House when the governor delivered her address in absence of the MLAs of the main opposition Congress who staged a walkout before the governor began her address.
The Congress wanted the governor to resolve the issue of the "collapse of governance and administration" in Goa in absence of the ailing chief minister, before proceeding with her speech.
In her address, the governor listed efforts being undertaken by the state government to make Goa open defecation free by October 2, 2019.
"Awareness camps are being held in order to educate the public on the issue. As a part of 'Swacch Bharat Mission-Urba', my government has converted 1,125 insanitary latrines to sanitary ones, constructed 65 community toilets and 17 public toilets for different urban local bodies," the governor said.
She said that about 53 per cent of the urban wards have been declared open defecation free.
"During the year, four schemes have been completed under integrated development of major towns," the governor said.
Talking about the tourism sector, governor Sinha said the overall tourist arrivals have risen by 8.45 per cent in the first half of the year (January-June 2018).
"The inflow of domestic tourists has increased by 7.05 per cent and of foreign tourists by 17 per cent," she said.
The governor further said that ensuring the safety and security of tourists is the topmost priority of the state government.
"In order to monitor the safety of the tourists at Baga, Calangute, Vagator and Anjuna (beaches), CCTV (cameras) have been installed and wi-fi facilities made available," she said.
Speaking about the people dependent on the mining industry, which has come to a standstill since March last year after a supreme court order, the governor said her government has sanctioned subsidy worth Rs 108.38 crore in 4692 cases under the "Debt Relief Scheme for mining affected borrowers of financial institutions", and disbursed Rs 93.29 crore to 4,263 beneficiaries as on November 2018.
The chief minister, whose extended absence from office due to ill health sparked allegations of breakdown of governance in the state, will present the annual budget on January 30.