The move to ‘unseal’ the premises of the Sunburn beach club just ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations allegedly under the guise of allowing them to remove perishables only for the owners to go ahead and organize parties on consecutive nights is a new low for the Goa administration that is grappling with multiple crises of credibility.
For those uninitiated, the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority which had sealed the premises of the Sunburn Beach Club after there were complaints of CRZ violations by the Club on December 18, proceeded to ‘unseal’ the premises on December 29, two days before New Year’s Eve after they received applications from the partners that there are perishable items in the premises and if they are not removed in time then there are chances that they will be spoiled.
Under the guise of removing the perishable items, the organisers then went ahead and organised late-night parties leading up to the New Year including on New Year’s Eve leaving the complainants and those who were protesting against the alleged illegalities feeling helpless.
Nothing could be a more blatant indication of an under-the-table deal between the operators of the club and those in the highest levels of government with decision-makers at every level either passing the buck or feigning ignorance about the going-ons.
The Member Secretary of the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority claimed that his order was issued only to remove the perishables and that he was not responsible for more than that was done.
Environment Minister Nilesh Cabral went ahead and claimed that he was only concerned with the CRZ violations and that if there were parties being organised it was for ‘other authorities’ to look into the matter. He went on to say that if there was a CRZ violation, he would go ahead and demolish it without hesitation.
Considering the events of the past week, we won’t hold our breach expecting a demolition. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant claimed he was unaware of the happenings and would inquire into what had happened.
All this points to connivance between the Goa Administration and the organisers to cock a snook at the law and make a mockery not just of the law and its might but also of due process and more importantly of law-abiding citizens.
Gone are the days when the administration would try and conceal the underhand business or try and keep it off the books. Instead, here we have the government telling the complainants and the public at large that they (the public) are fools and can be made to digest any kind of audacities and yet get away with it.
It is imperative now that the officials who ordered the unsealing of the premises be investigated and acted against for dereliction of duty in allowing the organisers to misuse the permission. Anything short of that would tantamount to permission to allow such acts to be conducted with impunity in the future with no accountability whatsoever.