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Prepare for a ‘fine’ time if caught drinking on the beach

If everything goes according to plan, Goans will finally get a chance to enjoy beach-day again. With the passing of the ban on alcohol in public places, especially on the beach, there is now hope that we will have cleaner beaches, that are safer and free of broken glass and litter. It was a tough stance to take, but a step in the right direction.

While many may see this as an extreme solution, this has been a long time coming. Given the drop in international tourism over the years, it’s about time the Government took a hard look at the situation and made the right call – even if it means penalizing restaurant and shack owners for allowing patrons to drink outside their premises.

What exactly does the law state?

The amendments to the Goa Tourist Places (Protection and Maintenance) Act, 2001, which were approved by the State Cabinet last week, have now been sent for the governor’s assent. Under the new amendment, violators will be fined Rs. 2,000, and if the violation is committed by more than one person, the group will have to pay Rs 10,000. There are, however, no penal provisions in the new law. The new amendment also makes provisions to ban the cooking of food in tourist and public places illegal – a practice that has plagued the state for many years and continues to happen brazenly even in non-tourist areas.

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The minute you stop this (drinking in pubic) you will see that this crowd will stop coming to Goa.

- Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo

How does this affect us?

Well quite simply, this means that as much as we love having the occasional drink or two, we can no longer do so in public spaces such as pavements or on the beach. In fact, this law has always been there, just never really enforced. The aim is to now be more strict, as this is seriously affecting the quality of tourism in the state. Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo illustrated the reality of the situation by saying, “They (tourists) don’t want to drink in a shack or a restaurant, because they know it is expensive. They just want to buy and come to the beach and get drunk and look at women.” He further suggested, “Stop people drinking on the footpath, on the promenades, on the beaches, breaking bottles. The minute you stop this you will see that this crowd will stop coming to Goa.”

What can we do to make a difference?

We have been fighting this for a long time now from behind our computers. We’ve shared pictures of littered beaches, tourists cooking on pavements, and worse still, we’ve even been on the receiving end of injuries due to broken glass bottles. It’s time now for us to be more vocal in protecting our way of life and our public spaces. Laws are only effective if they are enforced, and we as the public need to uphold the law as well. Savio Messias, the president of Goa’s Apex Hospitality Industry Body echoed the same sentiment when he said, “We are happy that this bill is passed, but the question is who will implement it? Failure to implement it will be back to square one.”

Given the fact that our state relies on tourism, and with over 80 lakh tourists visiting Goa, it is imperative that the quality of tourism improves, and this ban on drinking in public seems to be a step in the right direction. For now, opinions seem to be polarised, especially since it feels like Goa is losing its sense of freedom. But if that freedom has been taken for granted, there is very little we as a society can do to protect what is ours.

What are your views on the new amendment? Do you feel this is what’s best for Goa? Is there a better way to curb littering, drinking, and cooking in public? Let us know in the comments below.

With inputs from:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/law-banning-open-drinking-cooking-on-goa-beaches-passed-by-assembly/story-TbkbWAd8Kk35PvHFmsQAWO.html

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2 thoughts on “Prepare for a ‘fine’ time if caught drinking on the beach”

  1. I visted Goa for the first time a few months back. My trip focused more on North Goa. Loved the calangute beach and great food joints all over. Loved the sense of susegad that permeates the atmosphere. Loved looking at the high tide come in at Baga at 2 AM.
    My next trip to Goa is in February and I’ll not go to North because I saw the unfettered crowd at calangute doing “water sports”, saw college boys sitting on Activas and oggling women like it was Delhi, saw so much drunken, rash driving, saw the high tide recede at Baga and leave a ton of plastic bottles, saw a guy pissing into the ocean right in front of everyone.
    Mark, I do understand your unease but the way you’ve put forward your point of view in this post almost borders on moral policing by the locals (you know how that goes down every time). I am all for never dropping even a toffee wrapper on the road (never done it, never will) but your anger is modulating your perspective and an anarchist is peeking through. I hope you get to keep your sanity and Goa gets to keep it susegad.

    1. Hi Kavindra,

      Thank you so much for your view. I do agree with the fact that there is a tone of moral policing in the article above, however, I disagree with it modulating my perspective, especially since this is not just my perspective. I’m not looking to pin this on any one person, tourist or local. All I’m saying is that we are all responsible for our actions. You and I clearly have our priorities straight, but there are many who don’t which is why this amendment is being enforced. We (the people of Goa) grew up on these beaches and the surrounding areas. We had picnics and parties and respected the area enough to clean up after ourselves. But somehow in the last decade or so, there has been a disconnect and the beaches have been taken for granted by the tourists and locals alike. A blanket ban on public drinking may seem harsh, but all I’m saying is that it may just be what is required to bring back some semblance of a Goa that once was. I hope this cements my sanity in the matter, and as for the anarchist peeking through, I guess he’ll have to wait to have his day in the sun 😉

      Mark

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