Goa village demands closure of bars

Panaji: Residents of a Goa village on Karnataka border have demanded the closure of bars and alcohol shops, alleging harassment by drunk tourists.

Speaking to IANS on Monday, the head of the Thana-Dongurli village panchayat (village council) Sarika Gaonkar said she had received a proposal from the residents of Surla village and a decision on banning the bars in the village would be taken by the panchayat soon.

“We have received a resolution signed by the villagers of Surla demanding closing down the nine bars and alcohol shops in the village, because of the drunken tourist menace. There is no doubt about the harassment by tourists who come here to buy alcohol, get drunk and create law and order problems, but a formal decision in the matter will be taken by the panchayat next week,” Gaonkar said.

About 70km from Panaji, Surla has a population of 400-500.

Tourists from Karnataka throng the village, both to enjoy the splendour of the Western Ghats in the rains when numerous waterfalls sprout and to buy alcohol, which is available at cheaper rates, thanks to Goa’s low tax regime.

Over the years several drownings and other untoward incidents have occurred in the forest areas near Surla, Gaonkar said.

In a signed resolution addressed to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday, dozens of local students and other residents have listed the fallouts of bars and alcohol vends in their border village.

“Unruly and highly inebriated groups of tourists block roads and in general cause unbearable and inexcusable disturbances. The drunken tourists also resort to obscenity, singing and dancing … There have been cases where they’ve passed lewd comments at young girls and women of the village,” the resolution said.

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