Goa cracks down on drug-fuelled parties

Goa cracks down on drug-fuelled parties (thankfully Wedding Parties is an exception)

PANAJI, India — Organisers of parties and festivals in Goa will now have to seek state government approval to hold events, as part of a crackdown on illegal drug use in the Indian holiday resort state.

A state government order, seen by AFP, said that all dance parties and festivals, except “traditional” dance parties, festivals and weddings will need permission from the Goa home office.

Junior state home minister Siddhivinayak Naik, who signed the edict, said the decision was taken “in view of the law and order problem and reported use of narcotic substances”.

District government officials in the former Portuguese colony, who previously held the power to grant permission for such events, have been instructed to enforce the directive.

The move comes after claims that the image of Goa — famous since the days of the hippie trail in the 1960s and 70s for its laid-back atmosphere and dusk-till-dawn beach parties — was being tarnished by sex and illicit drugs.

The head of the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Cesar Menezes, said last month: “Tourism in Goa of late is getting a bad name with Goa slowly emerging as a drug and sex destination.

“There is no basic tourism and entertainment infrastructure in the state. Problems of law and order and garbage will spell doom for the state tourism,” he said in a memorandum to the state government, calling for action.

A series of high-profile crimes against foreigners in Goa have prompted concerns about the safety of tourists, as has the widespread availability of drugs, despite previous police and government initiatives to stamp out peddling.

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