The Goa government has recently approved the “Goa State Shack Policy 2023-2026,” outlining regulations for temporary seasonal structures, including beach shacks, deck beds, and umbrellas. This policy is aimed at enhancing tourism while addressing various concerns and contentions from stakeholders.
This topic of “Goa’s Beach Shack Policy” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.
What is the Goa State Shack Policy?
Temporary Seasonal Structures Policy: This policy governs the operation of temporary structures such as beach shacks, deck beds, and umbrellas during the tourist seasons.
Beach Shacks Construction: Beach shacks will be constructed using eco-friendly materials, including bamboo, wooden poles, and thatched palm leaves, to attract both domestic and international tourists.
Highlights of the Policy
Operated by Unemployed Goans: The policy encourages unemployed Goans to operate shacks. It specifies the timeline for shack operation, starting on September 1 and ending on May 31, with dismantling required by June 10.
Number of Shacks: There will be 259 shacks in North Goa and 105 in South Goa. Shack allotment will be based on a draw of lots and an applicant’s experience, with one shack per family.
Contentious Draft Policy Provisions:
- Age Clause for Applicants: The introduction of an age clause stating that applicants must be between 18 and 60 years old. This was amended from the previous policy that had no age limit.
- Eligibility Relaxation: While 90% of shacks require at least one year of experience, 10% will be allotted to new entrants with no prior experience.
- Mandatory Goan Cuisine: Shacks must serve Goan cuisine.
- Digital Coast Initiative: Implementation of Point of Sale (POS) systems for digital transactions.
- Penalties: Increased penalties for shack subletting to Rs 25 lakh (from Rs 10 lakh), and a Rs 10,000 fine for unhygienic toilets.
- No Shacks in Keri Beach 2023-24: Prohibition of shacks on Keri Beach in 2023-24 to protect against beach erosion.
Concerns and Controversies
Age Clause Objections: The introduction of the age clause sparked objections, with allegations of it potentially driving out existing shack holders and encouraging outsiders. The clause was subsequently scrapped by the government, allowing for the allocation of shacks to applicants in the 65-70 years age group.
John Lobo Concerns: Concerns were raised about the ambiguity in defining cleanliness and arbitrary surprise inspections, as well as the policy’s restrictions on employment or other businesses. The setup cost of shacks, ranging from a minimum of Rs 15 lakh to a maximum of Rs 1 crore, raised concerns about subletting due to the high cost. Stakeholders suggested longer-term licenses as an ideal policy. Additionally, concerns were raised regarding the operation of shacks after the death of an allottee, with requests for legal heirs to be allowed to operate for three years.
Other Issues: The policy also addresses picket fencing, sewage waste disposal, and furniture placement within 15 meters from the shack, subject to the high tide line. Some stakeholders raised concerns about picket fences hindering tourist and fishermen movement.