Dream Beach at Vagator in Goa is fast turning into a nightmare for conscientious citizens of the village with money-muscled outsiders flagrantly violating the Supreme Court judgments on noise and fireworks pollution.
Despite the High Court of Bombay at Goa trying to monitor the adherence of noise pollution through various writ petitions, the law is being made a joke of by individuals who allegedly stuff the pockets of law makers.
“People have been regularly complaining to the law enforcers with the latter trying to prove to the courts that they are doing their work, when in fact not just loud music but fireworks are burst on the beach with impunity,” claims a local from Vagator on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisal from breakers of the law which include the police.
The Regional Plan 2021 map of Vagator demarcates Survey No 356 as Non-Development Slope. Close to 100 meters is an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) site and 50 meters away is the High Tide Line or the No-Development zone.
Yet, loud music is played through the night by a starred hotel and firecrackers are burst very close to a turtle nesting site, thus making the locals believe that complaining to the authorities is a waste of time and a risk to their own lives.
Gomantak Times Digital has perused numerous written complaints to the police, Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA), Deputy Collector, Mapusa with photographic and video evidence but the noise continues.
A letter dated November 28, 2023, and addressed to the sarpanch and secretary of Anjuna Panchayat and signed by seven villagers reads: “This is to bring to your notice that W Goa a unit of Dina Bull Well Vagator has been repeatedly breaching the terms and conditions of noise pollution and playing extremely loud music day and night which is affecting the immediate neighbours' daily routine, kids and elderly and local business.”
The letter goes on to explain that despite it being decided in the last Gram Sabha of the Panchayat to “revoke the licenses of those found playing extremely loud music”, nothing has been done to that effect.
The modus operandi is simple: People file a complaint, authorities involved inform law breakers of receipt of complaint and there is an inspection. During the inspection no music is heard but soon after the inspector leaves, noise pollution begins again. In short, money is making a joke of the law.
Trees in Survey no 356 have been cut and construction has been seen coming up in Comunidade land, which Anjuna Comunidade president appeared unaware. “We will go for an inspection to ascertain who is trying to usurp our land,” stated Comunidade president Dominic Pereira.
“One individual is trying, with fraudulent papers, to claim at the mamlatdar’s office that he is a tenant of land that according to Form I & XIV states that land on Survey No 356/9 belongs to the Comunidade of Anjuna,” disclosed an individual in the mamlatdar’s office.
“It is obvious from the manner the individual is trying to claim tenancy that there is a big fraud being played out, not just by one individual but with the help of some executive committee members of the Comunidade,” stated an officer on condition of anonymity.
That Anjuna Comunidade is being crippled by its executive committee is evident in the manner it is now being made to stand through the intercession of the Goa Bench of the Mumbai High Court at Goa.
With the High Court, people have begun dreaming that not just the Comunidade but the elderly, disabled and citizens may live a normal life again.