The Goa cabinet on Thursday approved a proposal for imposing a fine of Rs 2,000 for people who drink alcohol or cook in public. A failure to shell out the penalty will attract imprisonment for up to three months.
The penalty will also be applicable if a group is seen drinking in public, in which case the fine will be Rs 10,000. State Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar confirmed that an amendment to Registration of Tourist Trade Act has been made to accommodate the penalty.
The amendment is expected to be tabled during the Assembly session, which starts on January 29.
“We have brought this amendment for those who break bottles on the beach, (and) cook and drink alcohol in public places like beaches,” Ajgaonkar told the media.
“Nobody can drink alcohol on our beaches and tourist places anymore. Bottles cannot be carried there. Food also cannot be cooked in the open. All these offences will attract a fine of Rs 2000. If the fine is not paid, an offence can be registered. The offender can be arrested and imprisoned for three months,” Ajgaonkar added.
As part of the amendment, photographs of the offenders can be sent to the tourism department, who will then impose the fine.
The amendment to fine people for public drinking and cooking comes at a very delicate stage for the state — the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa has been criticising the government for its poor tourism policies and had earlier this month referred to 2018-2019 as the worst tourism year Goa has seen, citing fall in rentals and a 40 per cent drop in footfall.
Among other issues, the association had also pointed to the lack of law and order management across beaches in Goa, where the beach patrolling police do not have official powers to book anyone for littering, spitting, or drinking liquor on the beach and not disposing beer bottles properly.