No action taken against the illegal massage parlours or spas in Goa
There have been reports of operation of illegal massage spas offering cross-gender massages in the coastal belt of Goa which seems to be on the rise. As per information obtained through Right to Information (RTI) application, 91 spas and 2 massage parlours are registered with the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) out of which 73 spas and both the massage parlours were granted licences during preceding three years. The DHS has not taken a single penal action till date though it has powers under the Goa Public Health (Amendment) Act, 2014, to levy penalty on spas or massage parlours which are operating illegally.
· Under section 29 B, a fine of Rs. 20,000/- can be imposed on a massage parlour / spa running without registration.
· As per Section 15 A (f) of the Act, there has to be a male masseur to provide a massage for male customers and a female masseur to cater to female patrons.
It has been reported that the DHS has no mechanism in place to conduct surprise checks at parlours and spas on its own. Once a license is granted by it, it loses track of the same and there is no system to ensure if any illegal action is taking place. Except for occasional police checks or visit by a joint squad, the DHS seems to have devised no internal mechanism to keep an eye of the massage parlour/spa with specific role of supervision. No directions have been issued to the health officers of the respective areas to take action against illegal spas/parlours who seem to be already overburdened with regular work. Only when the license of the massage parlour /spa comes up for renewal, does the DHS remember of its existence.
The mushrooming of illegal spas/massage parlours if not stopped, can lead to difficulties for Goa in the days to come.