Private shack owners at Palolem are in a quandary over the decision of Tourism Director Swapnil Naik not to issue NOC for erecting their structures in view of an order of the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court pronounced in a case pertaining to the beach shacks allotted by the Tourism Department.
It may be recalled that at the last hearing on the petition filed by Vikas Bhagat, the Division Bench of the High Court had ordered that no licenses shall be issued to beach shacks by the Tourism Department till 15th November when the next hearing would take place.
However, although the order very clearly mentions that no licenses shall be issued to beach shacks allotted by the Tourism Department, the department is also not issuing NOC to private shack owners running their business not on the beach but private properties adjacent to the beach.
Swapnil Naik explained the stand on grounds that he needed a clarification on the order and though the order was passed on 4th October 2010 and till date he has not sought the clarification from the Advocate General.
In fact, the Advocate General has very specifically stated that the order is applicable only to the eight shacks allotted by the Tourism Department and this is also corroborated by the Goa State Coastal Zone Management Authority who is the first respondent in the case.
Ironically, while earlier the private shack owners used to get their permissions from the Canacona Municipal Council and only get the trade license from the Tourism Department, from this year onwards the government has made it mandatory for the private shack owners to first get a NOC from the Tourism Department in order to get the Municipal permission.
“The director does not understand the tourism business,” said one private shack owner who pointed out that unless the structures on the private properties which offer residential facilities are erected, the beach shacks will not get any business.