Goa wants relaxation in night music ban

| 21 November 2000 22:28 IST

The tourist state of Goa, where you can wine and dine and sway with music till late night, is in a soup once again, thanks to the environment-conscious Delhi durbar.

By enforcing the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules 2000, the environment ministry has banned amplified music beyond 10 pm in all the states of the country, which obviously includes Goa.

"We have written to the ministry with a request to relax the rules here on certain festive occasions, while also ensuring that it would disturb the neighbours", says chief secretary Ashok Nath.

This is a second attempt, now by the full-fledged BJP government which came to power last month, after having received no response for a similar plea made earlier by the coalition government led by Francisco Sardinha and supported by the BJP.

The existing rules provide for more stringent penal actions than the Madhya Pradesh Control of Music & Noises Act, which has been adopted here since 1977 but has become superfluous with the central rules.

Since this rule was blatantly violated for the last three years by the local authorities, the high court here had banned playing of the music beyond 10 pm, following which the state Assembly had amended the act itself in July, relaxing the provision.

Stating that the culture in Goa especially during weddings, religious ceremonies and village festivals is to use loudspeakers till 4 am, the amendment had allowed to use loudspeakers or amplifiers till 4 am for a period of three days continuously.

But the PIL filed in this regard earlier had alleged that the authorities are violating the act in order to allow rave parties during tourism festivals, for which the raves flock to Goa from all over the World.

By managing the local police as well as the collectorate offices, such open air parties used to begin at night and go on till 12 noon the next day, playing full blast Goa Trance, the loud music composed by the raves.

In fact, Jeh Wadia, son of a business tycoon Nusli Wadia, had organised a 10-day non-stop millennium bash from 22 December last year in a similar manner for 25,000 raves from all over the world, which could be finally stopped only with court intervention.

"We want the relaxation only for the festive occasions like Carnival, Christmas, weddings and religious festivals", claims Nath. He is looking out for a compromise where the time limit could be extended, without disturbing the neighbours, by maintaining low volume.

While it is a fact that dances go on for any Goan Christian wedding here till 2 am and traditional dances for Carnival and Christmas till the dawn, it is also a fact that Goa is a favourite destination for all the raves as it is the only place in the world where open-air rave parties are allowed.

In fact series of such parties are held all along the beachline during the peak tourism season, in collusion with not only the state authorities but even politicians having influence from village panchayat level to the state level.

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