The Goa advertising festival — Goafest 2010 — in its fifth year has started on a controversial note.
Current leader of the opposition, Manohar Parrikar, called a press conference in the capital, Panaji on Thursday, alleging the Goafest promotes drug use as narcotics cartels flock to such events to sell drugs.
The industry’s highly coveted three-day event organised by the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) kicked off on the white sandy beaches of Cavellosim in south Goa Thursday afternoon.
Parrikar also said the state government had given quick permissions (to applications applied on March 28, a Sunday) to the organisers resulting in the violation of coastal regulation zone laws and sound pollution norms — the air-conditioned dome of the fest erected on the beach extends into the water and the fest has permission from 11 am to 11 pm.
Refuting the allegations, Colvyn Harris, CEO of JWT and chairman of Goafest 2010, called the suggestions “preposterous”. “We have hard-working professionals, including speakers of international acclaim here, who are driving the economy of the country. We are attracting positive attention to the state even after the tourist season is over.” On the allegation of violation, he said these were temporary structures and that they’d applied for permission on January 2, 2010. Goa CM Digambar Kamat, endorsed the festival.