I woke up this morning and looked at the newspapers and the first thing to catch my eye was the news about how drinking in public in Goa can now get you a free pass to jail. While this is certainly good news, it remains to be seen how well it is enforced by the local authorities.
Let’s be honest, we all like a good drink. Some of us feel like drinking after a long day at work. Most of us try our best not to sit in open, non-designated spaces though. Not only is it foolish, it’s illegal. Or it should be. Let me explain.
Drinking in Goa
Alcohol in Goa is something everyone has. Whether you live here or are just holidaying, you definitely want to sit in the open and have a drink or three. The sad part comes after that. While you, as a responsible individual, may not be the kind of person that breaks bottles and leaves them lying around, there are others that do. So our CM, Mr. Manohar Parrikar has finally decided to do something about it.
On Sunday, he said that the state government has decided to ban drinking in public places and that a notification will be issued by next month.
“If someone wants to drink (liquor), they should drink inside and not in public places. In the next 15 days, I will hold meetings with government officials to ban the consumption of liquor in public places,” Parrikar said at a ‘Swachch Bharat’ function here. He said the government will also impose fines or cancel licenses of liquor shops that allow people to drink near the shops. “Liquor shops will face the music if people are found drinking in the open spaces near the shop,” Parrikar said. Source – http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/parrikar-state-to-ban-drinking-in-public-spaces/articleshow/60725334.cms
Well, he isn’t wrong in this case. Drinking in public has become more and more of a nuisance now that it ever was before. In fact, last year, the Goa government mended the Excise Duty Act, 1964, to impose penalties on people drinking in select public places identified as ‘No Alcohol Consumption Zones’ and on beaches.
And this is true. People bring bottles of beer or other alcohol with them, sit in public places and at beaches, drink their fill and then end up breaking the bottles and leaving these for unsuspecting pedestrians and stray animals to step on. I personally know of friends that have gotten badly cut, through the soles of their shoes, while taking a walk on the beach and have had to have anti-tetanus shots to prevent infection and sickness.
My neighborhood is another hotspot for such activity. The wall around the lake plays host to a number of groups of people that turn up at different times of the day, almost every day, armed to the teeth with bottles of beer and assorted drinks. Not only do they drink and end up leaving the bottles behind, sometimes intact, sometimes broken, but they also just make a racket by playing loud music and revving their bike or car engines for the heck of it. It’s also often accompanied by loud voices, either talking, squealing or shrieking over some nonsensical conversation. All in all, it is a general nuisance and I’m pretty sure it goes on in every quiet neighborhood, not just mine.
Drinking on the beaches in Goa is another nuisance. The multitude of bottles and other rubbish that people leave behind is unbelievable. Most recently, a small group of people banded together to #TeamUpToCleanUpGoa and they seem to be doing a pretty awesome job of cleaning up, one beach at a time.
I guess it remains to be seen how well this latest and much-required ban is enforced. We definitely need to wake up. Goa has already lost so much of its identity and the whole idea of drinking in public and making a general nuisance of one’s self isn’t doing the state any favors regaining its good name.
In no way should this ban, dissuade the decent tourists that know how to treat a place with respect when they visit. Drink if you must but do it at an indoor restaurant, a friend’s place if they are inclined to have alcohol at home and invite you over for some, or even at an outdoor restaurant that has a permit to allow its patrons to drink outdoors and disposes of its liquor bottles responsibly. All I am saying is, we can drink but we need to be responsible about how we handle it long after the alcohol has disappeared down our throats and not make a nuisance of ourselves in public and create a hazardous environment for others.