Coastal body delays nod to pvt shacks

The private shacks operators should know that the revenue they bring to the government is negligible as compared to EDM’s . Despite huge sums being owed to the government, EDM’s have got their permissions. Only goes to show how much the government either officially or unofficially has made through previous EDM’s

For yet another year, the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) has been unable to issue permissions to private beach shack operators within the stipulated period.
The travel and tourism association of Goa (TTAG) said that many operators have erected shacks and commenced activity to avoid loss of business during the peak tourist period.

The delay this time, a GCZMA official said, is owing to insufficient manpower to scrutinise applications and conduct site inspections. About 300 applications are still pending with the coastal authority since June-July.

When contacted, Parag Nagarsekar, member secretary, GCZMA admitted that there has been a delay due to shortage of manpower. “We have got surveyors now. We will start issuing licences from the first week of January,” said Nagarsekar.

Nagarsekar also said that as the number of applications are large, the scrutiny and site inspections required more time.

TTAG president Savio Messias said that as the approvals ought to have been issued much earlier as most of the private shack owners had made applications to GCZMA seeking permission in June-July, adding that there should be no justification for the delay.

“We have met various authorities requesting them to issue permissions in time, but even this season GCZMA has not issued any permissions till date. Hence, many of them have erected shacks illegally. You can’t blame them as they have been compelled to do so. On the other hand, it is a huge revenue loss to the government,” said Messias.

This problem, Messias said, has been repeating itself over the last two years, since GCZMA was compelled to issue permissions for private shacks after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had ruled that issuing approvals for private shacks is the domain of the coastal authority, and not that of the tourism department.

“We have had no problem when the tourism department was issuing licences,” said Messias, adding that GCZMA could not issue permissions last season as the beach carrying capacity report was not completed.

 Directing that GCZMA is the authority to issue permissions for beach shacks, the NGT had also directed it to conduct a beach carrying capacity study, which was completed late last season, as a result of which the coastal body was not able to issue permissions in time.
 Dharmesh Saglani, president of the private shack owners association, said, “For the last four years, we have been fighting for a single window clearance for private shacks so that applicants are issued permissions promptly. But this has is not been happening.”
 “How is that EDM festivals get permission without paying fees, but we, Goans, despite paying fees, are not granted approvals? Where is the Goenkarponn?” he said.