Panaji: A one-time nudist beach in Goa is where the athletes and officials participating in the 2014 National Games will stay, a minister said Monday.
Until a couple of decades ago, Arambol beach was a pristine stretch of sand located 45 km from here, complete with its own fresh water lagoon and a nudist colony of hippies.
Sports Minister Babu Azgaonkar said Arambol beach is where a Games village, for the sportspersons and officials participating in the National Games 2014, will be set up.
"The star (deluxe) and budget hotel proposed to be constructed at Arambol will be designated as `Games Village` for the Goa National Games 2014," Azgaonkar told the Goa legislative assembly during question hour.
"It is proposed to construct a star hotel and a budget hotel at Arambol on public private partnership (PPP) mode, which will be utilised for accommodation of participants and officials during the 2014 National Games," Azgaonkar said, adding that both the facilities would be leased to the private partner for 30 years or more.
However, the opposition has criticised the government`s intention to use the PPP mode to raise infrastructure for the sports city to the tune of Rs.500 crore - covering 10 projects, including the Games Village.
"Why is the government supporting five-star hotels in PPP mode, when private investors are ready to invest their own money in hotels projects in Goa," Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar said.
The former nudist beach has over the last two decades developed as one of the most popular beaches in North Goa, with several beach shacks, bread and breakfast facilities and a franchise of the popular German Bakery.
Cut off from the mainland tourism in the 1970s and the `80s on account of distance and a circuitous approach road, Arambol was a fit choice for a nudist beach for the foreign tourists of the time.