Govt stops Wadia's party, court decision tomorrow

| 23 December 1999 23:02 IST

At an emergency meeting of the cabinet convened today afternoon, the Francisco Sardinha's coalition government decided not to allow the controversial 10-day long non-stop rave party organised by Jeh Wadia as a part of the millennium bash on Anjuna beach here.

Meanwhile, the high court will deliver its judgement on admission of the petition tomorrow, after hearing arguments the whole day, prolonging the sitting till 5.30 pm. The undertaking sought from Wadia not to hold the party continues till then.

The 10-day millennium bash, which was supposed to start from midnight of 22 December attracting 25,000 people per day, had come into trouble after a local newspaper exposed that over 77,000 sq mts of land was illegally occupied for it.

Briefing the journalists after the emergency cabinet meeting, Sardinha said the question of allowing the bash does not arise since no permission of any kind was sought by Wadia, the event manager and son of a business tycoon, from the authorities.

While ordering demolition of all the structures, which he had stopped yesterday, Sardinha also said the department should immediately take possession of the restaurant Paradiso de Anjuna, who was organising the biggest rave party of the World, since its lease had expired in September.

"The whole project of their collapses now", says Sardinha, though the high court is still seized of the matter. The cabinet however has also decided to allow dances on 24, 25 and 31 December till 6 am.

Arguing in the court on behalf of Wadia, Adv Mahesh Jethmalani said his client was disappointed by the government by not giving him permission, presuming which he had started construction at the site while also admitting that it was contrary to law.

While refuting the allegation that it was a rave party where drugs would flow, Jethmalani tried to convince the court that it was a festival with sports, meditation, dramas and promotion of handicrafts, of which dance was also a small part.

Counsel of Norman Azavedo, to whom Paradiso de Anjuna is leased out by the tourism department, claimed that he had permission to hold the bash but could not produce any documents to substantiate it.

Adv Vishnuprasad Lawande, counsel of the petitioner Peter D'Souza, brought to the notice of the court how the whole government land was illegally occupied and construction was done in violation of coastal zone regulations. He also insisted that rave parties are meant for consuming drugs and playing loud techno music.

While telling the court that it is seized of the matter of violation of coastal zone regulations, the state coastal zone regulation authority assured the court to take a decision in this regard by tomorrow. The local Anjuna panchayat however told the court that all their complaints and requests for demolition were ignored by the authorities.

After crying over series of acid parties allowed all along the beachline in Goa during tourist season all these years, this if the first time the government is compelled to take a firm decision. The court is also hearing such matter for the first time, due to which the case has become more interesting.

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