Business as usual as Anjuna shrugs off bandh call

Commercial establishments run by locals stay open, few of those leased out kept shutters down during the early part of the day
IN PROTEST: People gather at a protest meet purportedly organised by Anjuna Panchayat against a High Court order to seal 175 illegal structures.
IN PROTEST: People gather at a protest meet purportedly organised by Anjuna Panchayat against a High Court order to seal 175 illegal structures.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

The call for a bandh in Anjuna Village Panchayat, in protest against the High Court of Bombay at Goa order to seal 175 establishments, met with lukewarm response as most establishments run by locals remained open and those leased out opted to remain shut during the first half of the day.

“This call for a bandh is sad. We should have been celebrating that the High Court has come to our rescue again. These are signs of bad days for the future generation,” shot back Ernesta as she picked up groceries.

IN PROTEST: People gather at a protest meet purportedly organised by Anjuna Panchayat against a High Court order to seal 175 illegal structures.
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There were many who supported her view. “The High Court has given everyone time to provide proof of documents. If the documents were in order, nothing would have happened. If you are going to bribe, the law will come down (on you),” stated a restaurant owner who believed it is his duty to provide meals to tourists staying in the village.

“If the bandh was going to help, I would definitely have been part of it and would say it was a fantastic decision. The bandh is in no way going to change the High Court decision and it is irrational to meet one evening and decide that the village should shut down the next day,” stated another restaurant owner on condition of anonymity.

LIFE GOES ON: Despite the call for bandh, business as usual in many pockets of Anjuna Panchayat.
LIFE GOES ON: Despite the call for bandh, business as usual in many pockets of Anjuna Panchayat. Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

It’s not just restaurant owners, but tour operators too who didn’t support the bandh. “The decision to shut down the village resembles the taxi driver’s mentality. Their approach has no path and is set to achieve nothing other than inconvenience the few tourists that still keep coming here,” reflects a tour operator whose clients opt to stay in the village.

IN PROTEST: People gather at a protest meet purportedly organised by Anjuna Panchayat against a High Court order to seal 175 illegal structures.
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“The High Court order is based on facts and that is why this protest today is of no help. Our people must be stupid to think that this style of protest is going to make the High Court reverse its decision,” stated a storeowner as he did business with tourists.

Shops and restaurant owners in Anjuna who, despite the call to shut shop, kept their establishments open, argue that locals must understand that the CRZ authorities are not giving permission because “micro-organisms need space where development has taken space.”

UNAFFECTED: Fruit and vegetables sold openly.
UNAFFECTED: Fruit and vegetables sold openly.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

“Most of the establishments to be sealed are run by people from outside Goa, who think that by bribing our elected representatives they can do what they want. They are now trying to use the locals who have succumbed again,” retorted a manager of a restaurant with Indian clients.

Tourists were seen moving around the village – though not with the ease of before – with transport being available, though appearing skeletal and all essentials easily sourced.

SAY CHEERS: Nothing could stop them from having a drink.
SAY CHEERS: Nothing could stop them from having a drink.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

“Instead of a call for bandh, they should have met with legal experts and sought a way out. Instead they are trying to put the sword over locals and tourists. They do not understand that when you try to sling muck it falls on one’s face,” said a foreigner, sarcastically, sipping a beer in a restaurant.

Students too were not happy with the call for the bandh. “We should have been happy with the High Court judgment but the reaction is opposite and a real sad reflection of our moral compass. The High Court has stepped in when our elected representatives have failed and now we are being coaxed to protest against a just decision of the court,” rued a student as he prepared to leave for university.

IN PROTEST: People gather at a protest meet purportedly organised by Anjuna Panchayat against a High Court order to seal 175 illegal structures.
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“The panchayat should have warned us at least four days in advance if they wanted us to keep our shops shut. They allow illegalities and expect us to pay for it by keeping our place shut,” mused an owner of a juice shop doing brisk business.

By noon, many shopkeepers were seen opening their shutters and restaurants were getting ready to welcome guests for lunch and the rest of the day.

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