The sub-letting of shacks is no secret. It is easy money for Goans who get the license. But this is not why the license was given in the first place. Goans are licences to run shacks to offer ‘ Goaness’ to the visitor. It is very hard to prove but the government is within its right to conduct under cover operations to catch a few of the culprits, which will be a preemptive strike.
The validity of the three-year beach shack policy expired in May 2016 and a fresh policy for the upcoming season is yet to be formulated, though the first round of meetings to discuss the policy took place last month. In all likelihood, the tourism department will stick to a three-year-policy under which validity of the beach shack licences will be three years. While the tourism department has succeeded in curtailing some illegalities on beaches, it couldn’t stop allottees who sub-let their shacks. The beach shack policy prohibits sub-letting of shacks.
A tourism official said it is a difficult task, and they can’t do much for want to proof. Some even rent their shacks to foreigners. A simple modus operandi followed by most, he says, is that a person who takes the shack on rent will maintain that he has been appointed as a manager by the allottee. Also, in exchange for a certain amount (the rate depends on the location), an allottee would rent his shack but the transaction will not reflect on paper.
“Everyone in the vicinity knows who the actual owner is but fellow shack operators will keep mum,” he said. A shack operator who has been in the business for over a decade, said that some participate in the lottery with the sole intention of subletting.
“This is quite common and unfair too, for us, genuine operators,” he pointed out.
During the first meeting, there wasn’t much discussion on the beach shack policy, a tourism official said, adding that the next meeting will be more fruitful. The date of this meeting has still not been finalized.
The number of shacks to be allotted for each beach is decided in consultation with the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA).
On an average, 350-360 beach shacks are permitted to be erected along the 105km coastline of the state. He said they prefer a three year policy as it will save them the task of allotments through a lottery system at the start of every tourist season. In the past, shack allotments have turned quite controversial, and once or twice matters even reached the corridors of the high court.