GCZMA objects to plan for 365-day shacks



The ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) initiative to allow the shacks to continue on beaches throughout the year may face a roadblock as the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) members have strongly objected to the MoEFCC draft notification. GCZMA members said coastal conservation would be at stake if shacks are allowed throughout the year.

Last week, GCZMA held a meeting to discuss various issues. After the meeting, GCZMA members separately discussed the draft notification issued by the MoEFCC which allows shacks to continue on beaches. Speaking to TOI , GCZMA member A Mascarenhas said he has submitted his objection and suggestion in writing to environment secretary Kunal, who is also chairman of the GCZMA, on the draft notification.

Mascarenhas said allowing the shacks to remain in the intertidal zone during monsoon would result in a highly vulnerable situation where the temporary structure is likely to be washed off. “A shack that is defined as a purely temporary structure would eventually become a quasi-permanent restaurant,” he added.

Mascarenhas also said that such an approval would implicitly defeat the very purpose of CRZ guidelines for which the document was legislated. Another GCZMA member Nitin Sawant told TOI that the authority agreed with the suggestions and objections put forth by Mascarenhas. Sawant said once shacks are allowed throughout the year, then there is a change of ownership dispute in future. “Who will monitor if the shack is operating illegally,” he asked.

GCZMA member Ragunath Dhume said that allowing shacks throughout the year is “not a good” decision. Speaking to TOI, Dhume said that if a shack owner is allowed to keep the temporary structure cover, then he will leave behind garbage and sewage at the shack and there is a possibility that it will wash into the sea.

At present, beach shacks are allotted in Goa every three years. This year, the government is trying to change the beach shack allotment policy as a three-year tenure has come to an end. Government sources said that the state government is very keen in allowing the beach shacks to continue throughout the year, keeping in mind the next assembly election.

On April 25 MoEFCC had issued a draft notification for objections and suggestions and the last day to give objections and suggestions was June 24. In a draft amendment to the Coastal Zone Regulation Notification, 2011, MoEF proposes to facilitate beach shack allottees to maintain their structures for the period between June and August, which was earlier not allowed.