Controversy plagues Goa Fest 2010 (Second Lead)

April 8th, 2010 - 11:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Panaji, April 8 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat Thursday brushed off former state chief minister Manohar Parrikar’s allegation that the Goa Fest 2010, an advertising festival of top billing being held here, promotes drug use, and said he would attend the awards ceremony at the fest.
Speaking at a press conference at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in Panaji, Parrikar alleged that the state government had indiscriminately given permission for the Goa Fest, organised by the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) at the picturesque Cavellosim beach, in blatant violation of coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) and sound pollution norms.

“Festivals like the Goa Fest attract a lot of drug cartels indirectly, who flock to such festivals to sell drugs. All these festivals tend to promote drugs,” Parrikar, who is Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, said.

Responding to Parrikar’s allegations, Kamat gave Goa Fest 2010 a clean chit, and added that he would be attending the festival’s award (Abbey media awards) distribution ceremony.

“Such festivals are needed in Goa because they bring in intellectuals. I am going there myself to attend the awards ceremony,” the chief minister said.

Goa Fest 2010, a three-day advertising and communications festival April 8-10, organised by the AAAI and the Advertising Club Bombay (ACB), got under way Thursday at Utorda beach.

Branded as the “Survival of the Freshest”, the Goa Fest 2010 is being held in an air-conditioned dome at the Cavellosim beach, which Parrikar said was in violation of the CRZ norms.

“They have erected a dome right on the beach extending into the water. This is in violation of the CRZ norms. They have also been given permission from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. which is violative of noise pollutions norms in Goa,” he said.

He alleged that political pressure from the highest quarters had resulted in quick permission for the event organisers.

“They had applied for permission with the tourism department March 28, which is a Sunday and they have been given clearances from multiple agencies within a week of the application which is impossible,” Parrikar said.

Referring to the tragic death of Bangalore’s young girl Meha Bahuguna due to drug abuse at the Sunburn music festival last year, Parrikar said the government should immediately clarify its policy for granting permissions for such festivals, which he said “are spoiling the image of Goa”.

In reaction to Parrikar’s allegations, the festival’s chairman Colvyn Harris has said that all the necessary permissions have been taken.

“We have all the proper permissions and the file for the same was moved on Jan 2, 2010. Clearances were given after proper verification of documents,” Harris, chief executive officer of leading advertising agency JWT, said.

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