Panaji, Oct 7 (IANS) A division bench headed by the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court on Monday allowed the Goa government to issue temporary licences for setting up shacks selling food and beverages on the beaches of the coastal state.
The order is expected to provide relief to the shack owners in Goa, who have queued up to seek licences to set up 259 shacks along the beaches in North Goa and 105 beach shacks in South Goa.
The division bench of the Bombay High Court in Goa comprising Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Mahesh Sonak was hearing a petition challenging a National Green Tribunal order last month, which had directed the Goa government to not issue licences for setting up beach shacks, until it submitted a Coastal Zone Management plan to the concerned authority.
“The tourist season having commenced in the state of Goa and keeping in view the large employment generated, we dispose of the petition staying the operation of the NGT order to the State of Goa,” the HC order read.
“We permit the state to implement the shack policy 2019-22. We would request the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority to finalise for the state of Goa the Coastal Zone Management Plan as soon as possible and preferably by the date specified by the NGT,” it added.
“Shacks have existed in Goa since long, and there is no evidence of adverse impact on the environment on account of the shacks. The shacks are erected with eco-friendly material such as wood, bamboo and palm leaves,” the order said.
The NGT order last month had slammed the Goa government for not keeping to its August 30 deadline vis-a-vis submission of the draft Coastal Zone Management plan for the state.
The tribunal had also directed the Goa government to not issue licences for setting up beach shacks — which are popular with the tourists — until submission of the plan document.
Licences to operate beach shacks are allotted by the state tourism department periodically at the commencement of the tourism season in the coastal state.
The Coastal Zone Management plan formally demarcates the areas in the coastal region into commercial, environment and no-development zones.
The official tourism season in Goa starts on October 1 and winds up on May 31.