Maharashtra Government to Develop Beach Shacks Like Goa on its 720 KM Coast to Promote the Tourism

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It looks like the booming tourism on the Goan beaches has attracted enough to the Maharashtra government to replicate the same business idea of developing the shacks on their 720KM coastal stretch to promote the tourism business. The shacks will operate from 7 am to 11.30pm with restrictions on the playing music with high volume. the tourists will be allowed to enjoy seafood and liquor on the beaches of Maharashtra, on the lines of those in Goa. The development of shacks may lead to diverting substantial amount of tourists to the neighboring state…

The concept of the shacks in Maharashtra will be based on the Goa’s Beach Shacks and they will also operate for the nine months, starting from September till May, although there won’t be any activities during the monsoon, said the sources. According to the reports, the state government has decided to come up with the beach shack policy to promote the 720KM coastline as the tourism destination.

Goa is being the part of the same Konkan coastline, there will be a huge haul of tourism going to get diverted to the coastline of Maharashtra, as a new unexplored tourism destination, once the infrastructure is ready, said the sources. Based on the policy decision made by the Maharashtra government, the tourists will be allowed to enjoy seafood and liquor on the beaches of Maharashtra, on the lines of those in Goa. But, hukkahs and Drugs will not be allowed, said the sources.

According to the reports, the Maharashtra government was earlier skeptical about allowing the consumption of the liquor on beaches as part of the policy, but it finally agreed to it with permission from the excise department. “Restricting liquor at tourist spots like beaches will lead to encouraging the illegal supply of liquor, or shacks may fail to be an attraction for tourists,” a senior official said.              

The policies also mention safety measures, like the government, will set up an enforcement cell or flying squads. Designated officers will have powers to demolish illegal shacks and recommend imposition of penalties, including cancellation of license and compulsory installation of a CCTV surveillance system. Also, no foreigner will be permitted to work in the shacks even though they may have a work visa.

The government has also set the guidelines for the applicants who will be applying for the Beach Shack licenses and according to that the applicants must not be involved in any illegal activities such as Drugs Trafficking, Immoral activities or Paedophilia and the applicant will have to report any such cases to police or MTDC officials, the policy stated. 

The Beach shacks will be allowed to operate from 7 am to 11.30pm and there will be a restriction on the volume of music and as per the policy no loud music will be allowed to play after the 10 pm and the music played should be heard only within the shack and should not disturb occupants of surrounding shacks. Any music system comprising speakers and amplifiers beyond the permissible limits will be confiscated, said the sources.

The Beach shacks will be allowed to operate only for the nine months starting from September to May, and during the Monsoon, no activities will be allowed in the shacks. The beaches and number of shacks will be announced once the policy is okayed by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The whole idea behind this move is to boost the tourism in the coastal areas of Maharastra during the season time said the sources. Minister of state for tourism Madan Yerawar said the government will take care of security measures. “We are coordinating with other departments, including local bodies and the home department. We are sure the policy will help increase tourists visiting beaches and subsequently boost tourism in Maharashtra,” said Yerawar.

Meanwhile, the people of Konkan are already making the plans to oppose the project of beach shacks on the beaches of Maharashtra with the help of Chiplun-based Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra NGO. “The government must coordinate with locals to conserve the environment of Konkan. It can promote tourism, instead of allowing liquor on beaches. Velas Gram Panchayat, which has banned liquor on the village beach, will oppose the idea,” said Bhau Katdare, president of the Chiplun-based Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra NGO.     

“Mumbai beaches are very unclean. Has the government thought about the huge amount of garbage which will be generated by the increase in tourists? Mumbai’s beaches are frequented by middle-class families. How safe will these be, especially for women with kids, considering a large number of unemployed youths in the city. Why are we not keeping the beaches safe and clean to attract tourists?” said Chitra Sampada Ramesh, programme manager, Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

Meanwhile according to the reports the Maharashtra state government has uploaded a draft of the policy on the state tourism department website for suggestions and objections till November 5.

What is a beach shack? It is a temporary shed-like tent where you can get food, beverages, and liquor. It has basic amenities like a toilet, furniture, fire cover and first-aid box

Key points of the policy

  • Beach shacks can be erected will eco-friendly material like bamboos/wooden poles with thatched palm leaves and bamboo mat roofing
  • In case of paucity of wood, modern materials like synthetic, steel, nylon fabric can be used for its framework due to unpredictable weather
  • Use of concrete material is banned
  • The beach shack allottee must make provisions for fire cover/first-aid and must contact the fire service office for guidelines
  • A portable toilet with inbuilt proper sewage collection and disposal is mandatory. The waste must not be let out on the beach
  • The allottee must not discriminate about the entry for any person based on nationality, sex, caste or religion. The allotment will be canceled if a complaint is found to be true
  • No-smoking and no-spitting boards stating ‘Say not to tobacco’ and ‘Yes to Life’ have to be displayed within the shack
  • If any psychotropic/narcotic substances are found in the shack, the allottee will be debarred for life from applying for a beach shack

What is your opinion on this issue? Do you think that this move will affect the tourism in Goa? Will the tourists shift their base from Goa to Maharashtra? Please share your honest views on this issue.

SOURCE: TOI | GRAPEVINE