Just a month after former international cricketer Yuvraj Singh invited his fans to stay at his Goa-based holiday home, Casa Singh, the state tourism department issued a notice stating he was running the premises without necessary permissions.
According to the notice, a copy of which is exclusively with News18, the department has directed the cricketer to appear before the deputy director of tourism Rajesh Kale “in his chamber for a personal hearing" before December 8 or face a penalty of Rs 1 lakh.
Speaking to News18, Goa’s director of tourism Nikhil Desai said that the state government has been on a drive to crack down on all hotels, villas, or apartments that are being rented out illegally without necessary permissions. Yuvraj Singh’s property came on the radar of the department when it was found that along with 400 other premises it had not “applied for registration with the prescribed authority (tourism department) in the prescribed manner".
Desai said that this has been part of the Goa government’s drive against people who are renting out their places without registering with the tourism department, which is a norm.
“We have found many people ignoring our notices asking them to register with a nominal amount with the department as it is the procedure. Despite our repeated reminders, many have been violating the rule. In the past month alone, the tourism department has sent 400 such notices. If anyone is found ignoring it, we will involve it in the provisions of the law that will entail a penalty of Rs 1 lakh," Desai told News18.
He also added that if people fail to pay the penalty, then the water and electricity supply to the property will be disconnected and the owners will have no choice but to come to their doorstep.
“We are issuing these notices to all who have violated and we will not see who is high or mighty. It has been an effective campaign as we have not only collected penalties, but more than 800 applications for registering properties have come to us," he said.
The tourism director also said that they are keeping a close watch on hotel/home rental platforms like Airbnb, Expedia, and MakeMyTrip, which would be accepting bookings of such unregistered properties from tourists.
“They will also be penalised if found to be encouraging a property that is not registered with us," Desai added.
Located in Morjim, Singh’s villa called Casa Singh is located along the banks of the river Chapora. He highly recommended his fans and clients to stay at his minimalistically designed villa which also houses memorabilia from his cricketing career.