`CURLIES’ SHUT DOWN!

By special correspondent

Among the oldest and most popular nightclubs in Goa – Curlies — will soon be demolished. Located at Anjuna the nightclub has been accused of serious violations of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules. This brings to a climax over a decade’s worth of litigation. Not just Curlies but the majority of the night clubs are located in the North Goa Coastal belt. They have all been accused of violating the Coastal Regulation Zone Act. Starting with the Tito’s, which is the oldest nightclub in Goa.
There are also charges of noise pollution against the nightclubs which specialize in playing techno rock, or rave music, or trance music as it is popularly called. The nightclubs attract the bold and the beautiful, rich and powerful of Mumbai and other parts metros of the country. Many of them are open all through the night. They attract the young and the old who want to dance away the night.
Tito’s is the only nightclub with soundproofing installed on its dance floor. The rest get away with their loud drilling music causing a headache to neighbors in the vicinity, the nightclub get away with noise pollution and noise harassment as they not only have the protection of the Calangute and Siolim MLAs but also the police.

POWERFUL NIGHTCLUBS
NIGHTCLUBS make huge amounts of money and can afford to buy up everybody. They are also major sources of unsavory incidents and accidents caused by drunken brawling and driving on the premises or around about the nightclubs. In theory, there are very strict coastal zone regulations. Under this rule, new restaurants or hotels cannot be construct within 200 meters of the high tide line. They cannot be permitted on khazan land.
There is a ban on nightclubs sited on any kind of wetlands or backwaters. But in Goa not only nightclubs but five-star hotels have come up on CRZ protected areas. For instance, the Grand Hyatt at Bambolim is still awaiting a final verdict in the Supreme Court. The Goa Bench of the Mumbai high court has found the Grand Hyatt at Bambolim beach guilty of blatant CRZ violations.
Recently, the Goa Bench of the Mumbai HC ordered the demolition of the five-star hotel within the CRZ zone. Hotels, nightclubs, and upmarket restaurants take advantage of the delays in the law being implemented. If an appeal is filed in the Supreme Court against the order of the Green Tribunal it can take 20 to 30 years to be decided. Even if the SC upholds the demolition order the hotel or nightclub is able to keep functioning and make profits for two decades.
The advantage of delays in the appeals coming up before the SC goes entirely to the violator. There should be a provision providing for the closure of the hotel or nightclub until the appeal is decided. The harsh ground reality is that the State government and tourism minister have always protected five-star hotels and nightclubs in their breaking of the laws.
It is significant that the HC and the Green Tribunal were particularly active since the Code of Conduct for elections came into force. During the last 75 days the National Green Tribunal has passed a number of orders for the demolition of illegal structures. Most of these have come up in the coastal villages of Goa. The largest number of violations have been in the jurisdiction of Anjuna, Morjim, and Arambol panchayats.
Huge commercial structures have come up illegally in Anjuna. Significantly, the Goa government has got an appeal against the demolition of the illegal structure of Curlies in Anjuna. This, despite the HC passing structures against the sarpanch of the coastal village. There could have been some justification for permitting illegal structures if there were some benefits. Unfortunately, there are no benefits.
Most nightclubs may have Goan managers but the staff is mostly made up of migrant outsiders. Ranging from chefs or cooks to waiters to DJs and waiting boys and girls. Even the bouncers are hired from out of state. Bouncers’ dadagiri is often a cause of complaints by many tourists. The Calangute MLA Michael Lobo has been protecting the bouncers. The Calangute police have made it clear that bouncers have no right to be physically violent against tourists or guests frequenting nightclubs.

NIGHTCLUBS & DRUGS
THE nightclubs are also major centers for sale, purchase, consumption and transaction of the narcotic drugs. There have been many instances of young women collapsing at night clubs and also outside once they leave. All this is hushed up because of the money power of nightclub owners and their managers.
Unfortunately, the only section of the economy which seems to be booming is the hospitality industry. The quiet villages of Goa are becoming party zones for the bold and beautiful and rich and powerful. Assagao, which is considered to be a village of flowers, has become another Gurgaon clone.
Gurgaon is the commercial hub in Haryana very close to the national capital Delhi. Old villages like Siolim have already lost their charm. The villages of Goa are losing their tranquil Goan identity of old rapidly. Modern-day tourism is destroying local culture without providing secure jobs for Goan people. The irony is that since Covid happened there’s been a sharp drop in charter tourists. Domestic tourists do not go to shacks or spend as much money as charter tourists do. Many of the shacks closed down early this season because they were out of customers. Newly promoted heritage and religious tourism has a limited scope for earning locally.

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