Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A tussle at Arossim that seems to have changed a lot for beach weddings

Stringent provisions of the GCZMA for conducting beach weddings and vigilant activism have irked wedding planers; ask authorities to be clear about what is needed and they will comply; locals & activists say GCZMA provisions and laws have to be applied to all, including five-star hotels

15 Dec, 2016, 07:09AM IST

A tussle at Arossim that seems to have changed a lot for beach weddings
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An incident on Sunday brought to light a tussle between a citizen activist and an event management company which also dragged a starred hotel in the controversy but there’s a lot of clarity required as to what’s the status of beach weddings in Goa.
Aleixio Pereira from Utorda objected to a beach wedding tooth and nail through the week and this was his argument.
“There was a temporary structure being set up for a beach wedding by Park Hyatt at Arossim beach and I brought objection to it on the issue of permission and the issue of erecting temporary structures on the beach. The event management company said they had sought and have tourism permission. I intervened on behalf of the shack owners after they pointed out illegalities in the structures erected, fireworks set up and LED lights positioned on the beach,” stated Aleixio.
Event manager and owner of Cross Craft Events Serrao Francis asserted that all beach wedding structures are for small parties or exchange of vows and are of temporary nature and maximum are in use for three hours and obviously there is fireworks and lights needed for any event of such nature and the Tourism Department issues us licences through a single window to host beach weddings since it’s a hit in Goa to get the sunset and the waters in the frames of these beach weddings, stated Serrao.
Serrao also argued that lights and sound is a permanent feature of all shacks for six months and hence used in a beach event for just three hours should not be a worry at all.
Shyam Haridas, senior partner in Lucros Event Management, who said that he was forced to move his beach functions indoors when he was confronted by the same citizens activist, stated “We have no desire to break the law yet we must be told what the law is. We will stand in line and get the GCZMA permission if we are in the clear but no one has told us this. We are complying with provisions on the basis of which we have been conducting weddings. Apart from the local NOCs we get the Tourism Department’s permission, but weren’t told that the GCZMA nod is all important. Simply tell us and we will comply.” 
But Aleixio, whose matter is before the National Green Tribunal and will come up for hearing on January 6, states that no structure temporary or permanent is permitted within the inter tidal zone that is the space on the beach near to the water and hence anything of that nature needs a Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority clearance thus making it clear that now onwards all beach weddings need the GCZMA nod besides the Tourism Department Permission.
Jacob Fernandes who runs beach events, asserts that the government authorities have not yet issued any such notification and nobody from the collector’s office or tourism department is aware of such claims and hence it’s confusing and also difficult since now that it’s not clear, event managers are afraid of confirming beach weddings and losing out on business and clientele.
The Collector’s Office South explains to Herald that when an event is hosted on the beach, who will define the inter tidal zone and who will decide above high tide line and if all this is not clear then who will decide if GCZMA nod is needed or not and who will put forth the procedure for the same? Hence lots of doubts are cast on this new decision. Hotels hope that a sensible solution will come out of these arguments and that the wedding business will not be lost to Sri Lanka or Thailand.