The Latin Quarters of Panaji, which stretches from the Mala to St. Cruz is also known as the Portuguese Colony. According to the sources, the entire area comes in the range of 500 meters of state highway and taking into the consideration the orders passed by the supreme court to close down all the liquor shops within the 500 meters of National and State Highways will be now going to affect several restaurants and bars in this area. According to the sources, the bars & restaurants situated within the stretch of Mala to St. Cruz has received the notice from the Directors of Panchayats to remove the advertisements indicating the availability of liquor on highways.
According to the sources, the hospitality businesses situated in the bylannes of the Mala and Fontainhas are now living under the cloud of uncertainty due to the order of the supreme court to ban all the liquor shops situated within the 500 meters of the radius on the National as well as the state highways. In the case of the Latin quarters, the Bars and restaurants situated in these areas have been serving the generations of Panjimites, are now looking at this move of government as the end of the journey of their conventional businesses.
According to the source, the Supreme Court order to close down liquor outlets within 500 meters of National and State Highways has left the Mala and Santa Cruz liquor traders and restaurant owners tensed. A majority of the liquor shops, wholesale dealers, and restaurant owners are worried about their future and they feel that their livelihoods will get seriously hit if the business, which has been carried on for generations, has to close down.
Speaking to Herald, Savitri Naik, owner of Naik Restaurant and Bar at Mala said, “If this happens, our entire business will be shut down. We just cannot survive on restaurant business without serving alcohol. If the order is implemented we will have to close down our business and there is no alternative.” The proprietor of a wine store at St Cruz said, “This move will affect our business and our livelihood. This order is not only for Goa but the whole the country and as it is the apex court’s order we cannot do anything.”
According to the sources, there is fear of the entire tourism industry getting affected with this new development. One of the residents of Mala and owner of Viva Panjim Bar and Restaurant at Fontainhas Ms. Linda De Souza said, “This move is going to harm my business and without serving alcohol my restaurant cannot survive only on food. I am not in favor of this ban and I can say that tourism here will be affected largely.”
The people of this area are comparing this decision of the government to the closure of mining in Goa sometimes back which affected the huge revenue generation of the state. An official from the Hotel Kamal Palace, a restaurant, and bar on the Mala-Santa Cruz road speaking to Herald said, “This move will seriously affect our business and livelihood. First, the same problem came on mining and now on us. Our families will suffer and there will be huge losses.” He added, “Today we have received another notice from the Directorate of Panchayats on the removal of signages and advertisements indicating the availability of liquor on National and State Highways. Our business will have to shut down and we cannot do anything as it is a Supreme Court order.”