If you've got tickets booked to Goa and have been spinning daydreams of unwinding at its famous beach shacks with a drink in hand; there's bad news. Beach shack policy in the party capital of India has been put on hold by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The move was taken by the tribunal after the state government failed to submit a mandatory Coastal Zone Management Plan by August 31 this year. They had asked the NGT for an extension of six months to complete the formalities required to draw up the plan. The CZMP is essential as it helps demarcate coastal areas into commercial, environment and no development zones.
Needless to say that this decision will hit tourism this season in Goa badly. Shack owners will lose out on revenue because of the stay order on the popular beach structures. The prevailing mood is bleak - “We have not read the copy of the order yet, but the delay will affect our livelihood", the President of the All Goa Shack Owners Association Cruz Cardozo told IANS.
The bustling beach shacks are removed from the beaches every monsoon. However, with the onset of tourism season in March, the Tourism Ministry of Goa holds a lottery for the allotment of beach shacks, after which licenses are handed out.
On August 31 this year, the state cabinet approved a beach shack policy for three years (2019-2022) which would allow 350 beach shacks to mushroom along the 105 km-long coastline of Goa. The Goan government has reassured distraught beach shack owners by stating that it will take all necessary steps to ensure that there is not much delay in the allotment of beach shacks.
“The government will petition the NGT that the shacks are not permanent structures and are temporary only for the season. The Coastal Zone Management policy will be finalised by November and submitted before the Tribunal,” Goa Port Minister Michael Lobo said according to NDTV.
Colourful beach shacks with food and music aplenty are a popular feature of the beachy state. The beach shacks are responsible for driving a lot of tourism in the state. Here's hoping the lively beach shacks are open to tourists looking for some serious beach vibes soon.