As usual the tourism department plays around with the livelihoods of local people. The order of the NGT was passed for shacks in private properties and not to traditional beach shacks
The license fee for shacks is expected to rise by 5-10% under the new policy, due in a fortnight. The policy is ready, and only awaits the approval of the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA).
The policy is not likely to differ markedly from the previous one. Importantly, licenses issued will be valid for a period of three years, just like in the old one.
Tourism director Sanjeev C Gauns Dessai said that after the clearance from the GCZMA, the policy will be forwarded to the cabinet for approval.
The delay in release of the policy is due to the ambiguity over a Nation Green Tribunal (NGT) order directing the GCZMA to study the beaches’ carrying capacity.
The NGT order ‘didn’t make it clear’ whether shacks in private properties along the coastline came within the ambit of its order.
While the GCZMA has carried out the study, a hearing before the NGT is slated for September 19. The tourism director said that though some interpreted that the NGT order was applicable to beach shacks as well, the tourism department opined that the study was limited to private shacks.
The department decided to wait until the NGT hearing on Monday nonetheless, for clarity.
The allotment of beach shacks is a lengthy process, as thousands of applicants compete for the 350-odd slots. Successful allottees are selected by draw of lots.
The tourism director also said that they would insist, as mandated in the policy, that allottees install CCTV cameras this time. Although this was already mandatory, not all complied.
Dessai said that since the validity of the beach shack license is three years, allottees should not hesitate to comply with this condition.
In the past, beach shack operators opposed CCTV cameras on the grounds that it entailed additional expenditure. The added expenditure, they felt, was not justified as there was no certainty that they would get a chance to erect the shack in the subsequent season as well.
The uncertainty prevailed till 2012, when the validity of the beach shack license was one season.
Also this season, it will be mandatory for beach shacks to segregate garbage before collection by a beach contractor. Last season, this system was followed only along the Baga to Calangute stretch. This season around, all shacks will have to comply.