WENDELL RODRICKS | So, India Resort Week 2012 pops its head up once more on Goan soil. For an event that played loud music, and with full lights, past 6 pm during turtle-nesting season last year, why is the Government of Goa’s Tourism Department promoting this kind of event that brings the wrong kind of people to Goa?
If this is called an India Resort Week, how come Goa becomes the venue for a second time after last year’s blatant environmental and legal sound/light violation (at Arambol and Bambolim beaches)? The Tourism Department should use their money to create a more family holiday destination in Goa. It is events such as these that invite more damage to our beaches and gets the wrong image for Goa as the nation’s party place where anything goes. If the Goa Government continues to support events that damage the state’s reputation, we need to address this matter directly to the Chief Minister whose avowed intention is to clean up Goa’s image nationally and internationally.
India Resort Week can take their ramp to the other beaches in India. But can they really? Will Mumbai give them Chowpatty or Juhu for the event to parade barely-there couture for the public? No! Will Kerala Tourism give the organizers an area near turtle-nesting beaches? Definitely not! The organizers claim that their event last year was held at a private beach. Are there private beaches in India, let alone Goa? All beaches are public property in the country.
I request Mr Manohar Parrikar and the Tourism Department to decline to host such events that are damaging our reputation even further. Let us work to make Goa a family holiday destination like Singapore. Here, there are apparently no places for families and children. Every place is conceived only for a party. Even the cruises on the Mandovi have become music and drink parties. Is this what we want? Nothing for our children? Our parks are used more by adults than kids. And the next day, we can see liquor bottles strewn on pavements and in gutters. We have stopped taking or own Goan children to some beaches that have attained a reputation for drugs, rave music and other social ills. Even a beach like Juhu in overpopulated Mumbai gets a cleanup and is garbage-free each morning. Local residents have realized that they need their once clean beaches back. Goans too should become more active in such endeavours to reclaim our beaches and not be mute spectators to their misuse.
This year, instead of focusing the minds of our youth on divinity at Old Goa, the St. Francis Xavier novenas will be hijacked by the fact that Paris Hilton will DJ at Candolim for the India Resort Week. Isn’t it a shame that a person like Hilton known only for her partying and sleaze videos on the internet becomes the central attraction in Goa? And in turn the eyes of the nation and the world? Does Goa Tourism need this kind of publicity? I hope the Government and the people of Goa realize where public money is going and learn to weed out this kind of corruption too. Organizers of events in Goa, most of who are not Goans either by birth or residence, crow about how they have “all licenses”. It doesn’t need a rocket scientist to work out that certain palms would have been greased and particular pockets adequately filled. This is a further shame to us Goans ~ that we can be bought, and so easily at that.
Each time I am in a public media space, like last week’s Wills India Fashion Week, I am put to shame when journalists ask “But it is your government and you Goans who allow this. People buy Goa out because it can be bought out!”
It is a truth that sickens and shames me. Instead of talking about my clothes, I am left with questions that are best answered by the people in power. So I am passing on the baton. I hope our competent and enlightened CM steps in and puts an end to this abuse of Goa. It is time to welcome the children and turtles back to our beaches instead of the wrong kind of tourism, offensively loud music, raves, lights and all the rest that damages the state and its natural beauty.
I am waiting to walk again on our beaches like we did barely two decades ago… when all we saw at night was the moon, the stars and the shimmering surf in the ocean. I am sure our children and the turtles wish the same. With the support of the Goa government, I am sure that dream can come true!