“We have requested that at least six-month relaxation should be given to the state as compared to the existing 15 days,” Sardesai told TOI from Delhi after meeting Modi, post-NDA meet.
The Goa Forward Party chief said he also explained to Modi the distinct cultural identity of Goa and how destination and local weddings were getting impacted due to restrictions on music. He said if Goa had to preserve its identity and continue its position as the most-favoured destination for weddings, there was a need to relax playing of music till midnight.
With permission for beach weddings getting stringent, Goa’s sea and sand may slowly be out of bounds for wedding planners.
Under the environment protection act, the Centre can establish authorities with a mandate to prevent environmental protection in all its forms. The 2011 coastal regulation zone notification and at least two high court orders have mandated that any temporary structure on the beach needs to have GCZMA permission. The GCZMA’s general guidelines that gave tourism department a free hand in allowing beach weddings were withdrawn in 2014.
Sardesai said the Centre has to bring an amendment to the act so that it empowers the state to frame rules under the environment protection act. Sardesai, an ally of BJP, met Modi along with another partner, MGP’s ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar.
Sardesai also raised the issue of nationalization of Goa’s rivers at the NDA meeting and he also met union minister Nitin Gadkari over the issue. Sardesai said he told Modi that people of the state, especially traditional fishermen’s community, have reservation about the nationalization of rivers and fear that it might take away the jurisdiction of the state government over the rivers.
“I have told Modi that power to give permissions should continue with the state government,” he said. Goa Forward Party had raised the issue of river nationalization in the run up to the assembly election.
On the recent Supreme Court order on ban on sale of liquor shops on national and state highways, Sardesai told the Prime Minister that it would destroy tourism in the state and sough central government intervention in the matter. “Modi has noted down my request,” he added.
Goa’s aim to promote the state as a preferred wedding destination has come for some strain due to restrictions on partying, with strict rules for music to go silent at 10 pm. The impact has been felt locally, too, with Goan weddings having to turn off their sound systems post-10 pm.