The Goa government in its third volte-face in as many days, has decided to ban beach parties for security reasons from December 23 to January 5.
Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat told reporters outside his official residence on Saturday, “Taking into consideration all aspects, we have decided that beach parties would not be allowed.” Home Minister Ravi Naik said, “However, there will be no ban on the functions held in hotels.”
The decision was taken following a high-level security review meeting, attended by Kamat, Naik and Chief Secretary J.P. Singh. The ban, however, spares traditional celebrations, including the number of popular mid-night masses celebrated all over the state during the festive week.
The latest decision to ban parties and crowded gatherings on beaches is the state government’s latest flip, on the heels of two controversial decisions taken on a single day. On December 18, Naik told reporters that parties on beaches and open areas had been banned, following recommendations by the Congress Legislative Party due to security concerns.
But the CM revoked the ban in a couple of hours and forced the administration to withdraw the formal order after hectic lobbying by tourism industry stakeholders.
The flip-flop and the subsequent ban on beach parties comes as a shock to the tourism industry, which was hoping that at least the festive week would attract tourists in droves to the state, which is witnessing its worst tourism season ever.
But Kamat claimed that the decision was taken in the best interest of the people.
Nearly 40 per cent of the two-million annual tourist traffic to Goa occurs in the last week of December. And the main attractions are beach parties and other public entertainment events.