Licence to chill: Soon, relax in beach shacks, on deck chairs along Konkan coast

The state government finalised a policy to grant licenses for shacks and beach beds on the Konkan coast

mumbai Updated: Sep 22, 2017 09:48 IST
Manasi Phadke
Manasi Phadke
Hindustan Times
Mumbai news,Konkan coast,beach

By the year end, tourists will be able to enjoy a pint of beer at a shack or laze on a deck chair on Maharashtra’s beaches, just like in the neighbouring state of Goa. The state government finalised a policy to grant licenses for shacks and beach beds on the Konkan coast.

The board of directors of the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) recently approved the policy to grant three-year licences to erect temporary structures and operate them as seasonal beach shacks from September 1 to May 31. The MTDC is in the process of drawing up a list of beaches suitable for such shacks and finalising their locations in order to start handing out licences.

While the policy will be applicable for all seven districts of the Konkan region — Mumbai city, Mumbai suburban, Thane, Raigad, Palghar, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg — the MTDC is for now concentrating on promoting beach shacks in the Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts.

Aashutosh Rathod, joint managing director, MTDC, said, “We have identified 35 beaches so far in Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Raigad districts and hope to start by giving out licences for at least 50 beach shacks from October. We are constantly surveying more beaches that can be suitable and will add to the list.” The MTDC will decide spots for the shacks jointly with the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA), which is the regulatory authority that gives permission for any construction in the eco-sensitive Coastal Regulation Zones.

The corporation will permit beach shacks to sell food and alcoholic beverages, provided the licencee procures the required excise permission, bur smoking and serving hookah will be strictly prohibited. In fact, shack owners will have to compulsorily display a signboard saying ‘Say no to tobacco’ inside the shack premises. The shacks, which will have to be constructed using eco-friendly material such as bamboos, wooden poles, thatched palm leaves or bamboo mat roofing, can stay open from 7am to 11.30pm. The MTDC will initially issue licences from October 2017 to May 2020.

The corporation will allow hotels with property adjoining a public beach to set up 25 deck beds by charging Rs2,500 a deck bed and umbrella during the tourist season between September 15 and May 31. Similarly, shacks on public beaches will be allowed to have a maximum of 20 deck beds for a fee of Rs500 a bed during the tourist season.

With the policy, the government is looking to not only spur tourism in the Konkan belt, but also to create employment for the unemployed youth there. For this reason, the MTDC will grant licences only to applicants who do not have jobs and are not directly or indirectly engaged in any other business such as operation of tourist taxis, hotels, bars, sale of handicrafts, souvenirs, toddy tapping, fishing and so on. The MTDC has also barred any foreigners from being given employment in the shacks, although they may have a valid work visa.

The MTDC has also planned a separate cell to look after the Konkan region to improve infrastructure and promote tourism along its 720-km coastline.

First Published: Sep 22, 2017 09:48 IST