Four days after the New Year, locals in Vagator are still aggrieved over the menace of loud music – their sleep being disturbed for days on the trot – despite the assurance on loud music of North Goa SP Nidhin Valsan on December 30, 2023.
“The SP asked us the names of the places where loud music is played beyond the stipulated time. When we asked him how a particular place was allowed to play music when it was sealed through a High Court order, he could not answer,” disclosed Antonio Moraes, a resident of Vagator.
“The police fooled us because, apart from this place, loud music is still being played, especially where one of our boys was assaulted,” asserted an exasperated Moraes.
When contacted, SP Nidhin Valsan said, “Where is the music being played now? Please inform me as I have given strict instructions that no music should be played outdoors after 10pm. Music has to be moved indoors.”
The New Year, apart from the nuisance of noise pollution, has not brought much cheer to the locals from Vagator though people further north – in Morjim and Arambol – have reason to be happy.
Indian tourists have been swarming beaches in Morjim and Arambol with locals doing brisk business day and night.
“I get a lot of business at night, while it is moderate during the day,” claims Atmaram Mhamal, a local who sells tender coconuts and fuel in this area.
Traffic picks up around Morjim, Ashvem and Arambol towards the evening, with most tourists seeking clubs scheduled to host parties that play music within the permitted limits.
“Parties are held during the weekends, and we have no problem as it helps us make some extra money. The place is otherwise quiet as there are very few foreigners,” laments shopkeeper Sunaina, who does business along the Morjim-Ashvem road.
The mood is contrasting in Vagator. “The music stomps the heart and the SP during his meeting with us was unaware that the music was being blasted in residential areas. If music has to stop at 10pm, it has to be 10pm. There can be no compromises,” asserted Janie Crasto who was forced to approach the High Court of Bombay at Goa.
“The problem starts with the panchayat giving clubs licenses and gets compounded with the police deliberately pretending to play deaf when they should be upholding the orders of the Supreme Court,” says Janie as she steps in to attend to her child with disabilities.
“It has been two days since our Ashley was attacked and the culprits have still not been arrested despite being named. Are the police waiting for our anger to simmer?” questioned Jovita Ali, whose house is a few meters from one of the night clubs.
As 2024 sets in, a comment posted by Jenny Webb on Goa Hippie Tribe, sends a telling signal: “The club owners bribe the cops to turn a blind eye. That’s one of the reasons I loathe Vagator now which, once upon a time, was an absolute wonder.”
For most locals on the northern coastal belt, 2024 has started on a stutter.