‘Black flags for Modi if Goa beach shack permits delayed’

Panaji, Nov 7 (IANS) Goa’s beach shack operators started a relay hunger-strike in the state capital on Monday in protest against the delay in annual allotment of permits for setting up beach shacks on the many popular beaches.

Speaking to reporters in Panaji, Cruz Cardozo, President of the Goa Beach Shack Owners’ Association, said if the state government does not issue the permits soon, the shack owners would greet Prime Minister Narendra Modi with black flags, when the latter visits Goa on November 13.

“The delayed beach shack allotment process is robbing us of our daily bread every year. The season has started and we are losing out on business. We have already started a chain hunger-strike. If the government does not act soon, we will welcome Prime Minister Modi with black flags when he arrives in Goa,” Cardozo said.

There are more than 350 beach shacks catering to over four million tourists who arrive in Goa annually.

The shacks are licenced every tourist season (from October to May) and have to be dismantled with the advent of the monsoon, as per government regulations.

However, the delay in allotment of beach shack permits this year is due to the insistence of the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) to physically examine every site where shacks are expected to be set up before giving it a thumbs up.

Numerous studies conducted by the state government have established the need for a detailed examination of the carrying capacity of Goa’s beaches in order to prevent the degradation of the sandy stretches due to over-exploitation.