In the recent years, for many Goa has been the destination of their India tours. The sun kissed beaches, cheaper accommodation, frequent parties, the laid-back living style of the locals, the drugs, the romance, the Carnival parade and centuries-old culture with many churches and the preserved body of St Francis Xavier had combined together to give Goa a distinct edge over other popular exotic destinations.
The sliding law and order situation, the rising protests from the locals and the allegations that Goa is run over by the Russian and African mafia has made the local administration take few actions in an effort to stop a further deterioration.
The latest act of the state's tourism Department is to ban smoking and hookahs on the beaches. The objective is to make Goa's coastline tobacco free.
Hookahs have been banned from the beach shacks as well. This cleaning drive starts from Miramar Beach this October.
Huge howls of protest have arisen amongst the Indian party makers, few celebrities and some artists. Ridiculing the order, regular Goa visitors fumingly say that what's the point to travel
to Goa if their harmless non-polluting passion for smoking is to be curtailed? Will a smoker now have to leave the beach premises to smoke? What is next - swimsuit ban?
But the non-smokers are appreciative. For many to whom Goa is a family vacation destination, are happy that their kids shall not suffer passive smoking.
Our view is that the tropical paradise of Goa, with its seaside restaurants, tree-lined golden beaches, its calmness needs to be preserved.
However, the last few years have shown us and another face of Goa that is not smiling. Instead, the face is of mafia, murder, corruption, land grabbing and sexual assault. This needs to be stopped. A unique initiative is to have silent noise parties where dancers have wireless headphones and do not disturb the neighbours.
Banning smoking on beaches is in consonance with the National Law of non-smoking in public places. To that extent, the Administration has done nothing wrong and are to be applauded.
Read the story here Party over for Goa