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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Month after opening, Goa’s first sex shop shuttered by panchayat

While the panchayat claimed the shop could not be allowed to run without the license, Kama Gizmos partner Prawin Ganeshan said the issues with the local authorities run deeper.

By: Express News Service | Calangute |
Updated: March 19, 2021 7:35:36 am
Goa sex shopKama Gizmos after closure. Its signage was also removed. (Express photo)

A little over a month after its Valentine’s Day opening, Goa’s only brick-and-mortar sexual wellness shop has had to down its shutters. Located in a marketplace in Calangute, a popular tourist destination, Kama Gizmos was shut down by the panchayat citing the lack of a trade license, with its sarpanch objecting to “such activities”.

While the panchayat claimed the shop could not be allowed to run without the license, Kama Gizmos partner Prawin Ganeshan said the issues with the local authorities run deeper.

Calangute Sarpanch Dinesh Simepuruskar said: “We had received oral complaints from many people about the shop and they did not have a trade license. So we have shut it down.” The panchayat took action against the shop on Wednesday. Its signage was also removed.

“They were selling sex-related things and we had received complaints from both men and women about it. People had also posted on social media and WhatsApp about the shop. Since it was in a gully everyone had not seen it before,” said Simepuruskar. “We don’t want to allow such activities.”

The Kama Gizmos store in Goa was a joint venture between KamaKart, that runs a chain of ten sexual wellness stores in South India, and Mumbai-based Gizmoswala.

“Our trade license application is under process but we were advised by the people working with the Panchayat that we can open the store and the license would be issued in a few days. On Saturday (March 13), the Panchayat told us not to open the shop for some days so we kept it closed. We were under a lot of pressure from the local authority. Since we are outsiders and not from Goa, we are an easy target,” said Ganeshan, CEO of KamaKart.

KamaKart has outlets in Chennai, Bengaluru, Kochi, Colombo and Kathmandu.

Ganeshan said: “We display no nudity in the store and there is no obscenity.” He said leaflets were distributed near the beach as part of a marketing outreach, and that some people who got them seemed to dislike the idea.

“We have encountered no problems in any other city that we have shops in and we will not back down. We are selling completely legal products that are for pleasure and protection. We will restart in Goa within another month. We have conceptualised a sexual wellness store with doctor consultation,” said Ganeshan.

In a month, the store with its white walls and products stacked neatly on shelves attracted customers including both men and women, according to Ganeshan. He said customers have continued to call the store for products even after it was closed.

Products that are also sold online will reach customers in Goa from their Bengaluru store until they reopen in Goa, Ganeshan said.

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