AFTER TWO incidents of drowning in as many weeks at popular Nagoa beach in Diu, the collector of the Union Territory has issued an order prohibiting local and foreign tourists from swimming or bathing at all the beaches of the island for two months. Diu collector P S Jani issued the order under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) late June 30.
It came hours after four youths from Ahmedabad were trapped in high tide while having a swim in the sea at Nagoa beach. Locals had rescued two of them, but one drowned, while one is missing. While Farhan Sheikh was declared dead on arrival by a local hospital, Jubaid Arab (20) went missing and search for him is still on, said authorities.
The incident had come 12 days after Girdharilal Gehlot (40), a grain trader from Samarpur in Pali district of Rajasthan, had drowned while swimming at Nagoa beach on June 17. “During monsoon, the sea remains rough and swimming in it is risky. We have put up boards warning tourists not to swim in the sea during the monsoon. We have put up boards warning tourists not to swim in the sea during the monsoon. But, the twin incidents apparently made it clear that nobody heeds the warning. Therefore, I felt it necessary to issue a prohibitory order,” Jani told The Indian Express on Sunday.
Located off Una coast, the tiny island of Diu is a popular tourist spot. It is known for itsbeaches, the historic Diu fort and also for its liberal liquor policy . However, hoteliers said instead of prohibiting people from swimming in the sea, the authorities should have simply posted lifeguards on the beach. “There have been scores of drowning at Nagoa beach alone in the last few years. Waves are not an issue. The issue is people going swimming after drinking. So, instead of prohibiting swimming altogether, the administration could simply have posted a few lifeguards there,” said owner of a hotel on Nagoa beach.
The hotelier said he had written repeatedly to the administration requesting to post lifeguards on Nagoa, but to no avail. Collector, on the other hand, said the tourism department of the U T does post some lifeguards during summer. “But, monsoon being a rough season, swimming is not allowed and therefore, guards are not there. After the two incidents, police have been keeping an eye on the beach,” said Jani.