MAPUSA: Shack Owners Welfare Society has expressed displeasure over the harassment meted out to the beach shack owners. They have threatened to come on the streets and close all shack operations if the government fails to heed their demands.
It may be recalled that Goa Tourism Department had informed the High Court that they had ‘discovered’ that shack owners had illegally dug 23 bore wells along the Candolim beach stretch without any permissions from any authority and had also dug soak pits despite conditions of the shack licence explicitly stating that no soak pits can be explored.
Submitting a preliminary inspection report before the High Court in response to a public interest litigation petition filed by one Reuben Franco, the Tourism Department had reported that about 23 bore wells were illegally dug and installed “mainly around shacks that the Department of Tourism has permitted.”
The report stated that these shacks extract and utilise water from such bore wells the report said. Similarly, the report pointed out that around 17 huts have been constructed soak pits which, according to the Department, was “a breach of terms and conditions of the shack licence based on which these shacks are being operated on the Candolim beach.”
According to submissions made by the Tourism Department, such bore wells are not permitted in terms of the shack policy and no permissions were granted for boring such wells under the Goa Groundwater Regulation Act, 2002 and Rules 2003.
The Tourism department was then directed by the high court to conduct a joint inspection along with the WRD department, Goa State Pollution Control Board and the Goa State Coastal Zone Management Authority of the stretches of the Candolim and Calangute and issue a show cause notice to those shacks that have constructed soak pits or bore wells, and throwing garbage bags directing the shack owners to remove them. Following the show cause notice was issued, all shack owners assembled under the banner of the shack Gowners welfare society held a meeting at the Calangute Village panchayat hall to discuss the harassment meted out to the beach shack owners by the tourism department.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, secretary of the Shack Owners Welfare Society, Secretary John Lobo, said that he was unhappy with a show cause notice issued by the department of tourism.
“We are dissatisfied with the show cause notice issued to us, and we want to know the reason behind this notice as this is improper. The five-star hotels they are openly discharging their sewerage without constructing proper soak pits, and there are no notices issued to them, so this shows that only the shack owners are targeted to ruin our business,” said Lobo
He further noted that most of the shack owners were paying license fees to the tourism department, and inspite of that, they were being harassed by the department…
It’s high time, and we cannot tolerate this. We will be compelled to come to the streets and hold a protest and close all the shack operations if this notice is not withdrawn,” said the president of the shack owners’ welfare association Cruz Cardozo. The meeting also urged all the shack owners to stay united and not to be divided on the issue and fight for the withdrawal of this notice