Goa to go ahead with midnight mass & dances

| 11 December 2001 22:10 IST

Unlike in Mumbai, Goa will go ahead with midnight open air mass for Christmas and even the post-midnight street dances till dawn.

Following the Supreme Court guidelines on prohibiting noise pollution after 10 pm, the Church in Mumbai has reportedly already decided to wrap up its traditional festivity two hours earlier, to abide by the court ruling.

"The court has not banned the midnight mass", quips BJP chief minister Manohar Parrikar, observing further that the Church rituals begin at 12 since Jesus Christ was also born at midnight like Lord Krishna.

He has however also decided not to allow anybody to cross the sound limit of 80 decibels, imposed by the Supreme Court. In Goa, due to large volume of population, the Christmas mass is held in the Church compounds, using sound system.

Prior to this, the local Church had also decided to go ahead with traditional midnight mass as usual. "The Church has always been against all forms of noise pollution and there will be also no use of fire crackers", clarified Fr Carmo Martins, the Church spokesman.

With the local bench of Mumbai high court imposing strict implementation of the provisions of the locally adopted Madhya Pradesh Control of Music & Noises Act last year, the state Assembly had amended the act itself, allowing to use amplified music throughout the night, provided state authorities permit it.

But the union environment ministry once again prohibited use of amplified music beyond 10 pm by enforcing Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000. The state government had then requested the centre to relax the provision on certain festive occasions. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has banned it once again.

Though late-night dances for weddings and occasions like Christmas, New Year or Carnival is a ‘tradition’ in Goa, it has also been misused to conduct full-blast rave parties throughout the night during tourism season, a major irritant for coastal villagers.

"We will also not restrict anybody from holding traditional street dances during festive occasions", states the chief minister. He has however instructed all the concerned authorities to adhere to the provision of not crossing the prescribed sound limit.

Goa’s traditional street dances, which normally end at dawn, are also a big tourist attraction. Finding a loophole in the act was thus obvious since the tourist season here has already suffered due to world recession and the post-11 September situation.

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