CM-tourism dept. clash over shacks issue

| 07 November 1996 23:28 IST

In a sudden volte face, Chief Minister Pratapsing Rane has allowed the locals to erect shacks, the makeshift huts, on the Goan beaches. But as the tourism department is delaying issuing of licences, the shack owners have already started erecting shacks since the season is running out.

The coastal population of Goa had become totally antagonistic with Deputy Chief Minister Dr Wilfred de Souza, also the tourism minister, stopping the system of beach shacks from this year, citing the Supreme Court judgement prohibiting any type of construction within the area falling under the Coastal Regulation Zone.

This had followed series of protests since October, with the shack owners claiming that shacks does not fall under the category of permanent or temporary construction. Though the SC had not categorically mentioned about the shacks in its order, Dr de Souza remained adamant, seeking SC clarification on the matter.

But the SC judges reportedly declined to clarify when the state advocate general sought clarification on the matter in the open court. As no firm reply was coming from the authorities, the shack owners began chain hunger strike in front of the state tourism office, while threatening to go ahead with shacks if the cabinet did not take a decision by the month end.

"We have decided to allow shacks on the beaches as it does not violate the act. Seeking further clarification from the SC is also not necessary. The shacks don't affect the coastal ecology", said Mr Rane after the cabinet approved erection of shacks.

The government was also found in a trap with its earlier stand, postponing the famous annual Sea Food Festival held on Miramar beach in November, building hundreds of small shacks in a semi-circular fashion.

But the shack owners are not satisfied with the cabinet decision as the tourism department has still not issued them licences. In protest, they have already begun erecting shacks on the beaches, though actual activity is yet to begun.

"We will agitate if they demolish our shacks", the shack owners have warned. The whole procedure is being delayed only because the ruling politicians want to issue licences only after consulting the ruling party MLAs, for a political mileage.

But the old licensees have already erected the shacks, while condemning politicisation of the shacks' issue. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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