Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar on Sunday said beef was not banned in the state and that tourists can eat anything they wish to, IANS reported. The minister said the Centre’s notification on sale of cattle at animal markets for slaughter had “no impact” on the tourism industry in the state.

The minister was speaking at the Travel and Tourism Fair organised in Kolkata. “Beef is not banned in Goa,” Ajgaonkar said. “The tourists would get whatever they want to eat. They can eat whatever they like.”

He further said that in Goa Hindus, Muslims and Catholics have been living together for many years. “An environment of communal harmony prevails there,” he said.

Ajgaonkar said that the tourism sector in Goa had seen no losses since the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax. He also said the security of the tourists was the topmost priority in Goa. “The tourism department has set up several toilets, changing rooms, bathrooms and other necessary facilities for the convenience of tourists,” he said.

On May 26, the Centre had issued new rules that require cattle traders to give an undertaking that the animals being sold at markets would only be used for agricultural purposes. Several states have massively criticised the notification, including Kerala, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh, among others.

In June, Goa Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai had said that the Centre’s new notification had created apprehensions in the minds of the state population. “The state government is going raise certain objections and suggest some corrections to the notification on the Prevention of Cruelty Towards Animal Act,” he had said. “A significant section of people in Goa eats beef and there is a doubt in the minds of people that needs to be cleared.”