Locals not in favour of shacks on Palolem beach

When many shack operators in the entire state of Goa, especially those who depend on seasonal beach shacks for their livelihoods, are pondering over the allocation of shacks on different beaches, the shop owners and locals of Palolem are not too keen on shacks at Palolem beach and feel that the official ban imposed on shacks on Palolem beach in Canacona, two years back should continue.

It may be recalled that shack operators at Palolem beach were not allowed to set up shacks on the beach, following a petitioner in the High Court in 2012, which granted a stay on shacks on Palolem beach.
While the court disposed off the case, it directed the CRZ and tourism department to decide on the number of shacks to be allowed in the area; however, not too many people are in favour of shacks at Palolem beach.
A majority of shop owners having their commercial shops and establishments within the vicinity of the beach, and even locals in the area, are of the opinion that, considering the width of the beach, shacks should not be allowed on the beach, as this would reduce the space on the beach drastically and make movement of tourists and visitors difficult.
The shop owners in the vicinity said that the width of the beach has further reduced due to soil erosion and informed that during high tide, the water almost reaches the protection wall; and as such, there is hardly any space to set up or erect seasonal shacks. They said if shacks are erected on the beach, then they will discourage the foreign visitors as there will hardly be any place for them to roam about or sunbathe.
When asked about the breadth of the beach during high tide, they informed that during high tide, the water covers almost the entire seashore and asked where the space was to set up shacks. They said in this situation, there will be no place for the tourist to walk and went to the extent of saying that water will even enter the shacks, if they are allowed to set up.
Some fishermen who carry out fishing activities from this beach, said that allowing shacks on the beach is not a very wise decision. They said this would deprive them of their daily bread. They said that when shacks are allotted to shack operators, they occupy a lot of space on the beach and this leads to erecting makeshift toilets and this in turn leaves the area smelling, stinky and making it a nuisance to the tourists. They also said that if shacks are allowed, then they will not even have space to keep their canoes.
“When the government wants tourists to come to Goan beaches so that there are business opportunity for the youth and locals, why should the government authorities think of allotting shacks here, when there is no space for the same? Shacks have rightly been banned here and the government should maintain it this way,” quipped a group of locals here.
An elderly man said that though shacks help some people earn their livelihood during the season, they also have a downside. He said many youth have given up their studies and have opted for work on the shacks in a bid to make some quick money. He also said that a lot of nefarious activities take place in the shacks, like flesh trade, drugs and other illegal activities.
He also pointed that though there are no shacks allowed on the beach at Palolem, many residents who live in the close proximity of the beach, have erected shacks in their private properties and called upon the government to take a look into the legality of the same. [NT]