Panaji, May 1 (IANS) The Goa State Election Commission (SEC), overseeing the May 16 state-wide panchayat polls has just played lifesaver to lakhs of Goans and tourists who love a late nightcap.
In a key modification of the poll code of conduct order, State Election Commissioner M.M. Modassir has allowed bars and restaurants to serve liquor right up to 11.30 p.m. and food through the night. The move follows a petition from the Goa Restaurant Owners Association (GROA) as well as coastal legislators asking Modassir to stop playing "party pooper".
"I had also told him that if he can modify that order from 11 till 12 'o clock and that liquor should be sold till 12 'o clock in the interest of tourism," Michael Lobo, BJP MLA and a spokesperson for the GROA said.
"Because tourists who visit the coastal belt and stay on the beaches of Calangute and Baga come for dinner only at 11. And if they are told there is no food or no liquor, it is bringing a bad name to the state of Goa. And if tourists do not come to Goa, they will go to some other destination like Thailand, Malaysia because it is finally the same price," Lobo said.
The Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) has also welcomed the move to allow bars and restaurants to serve both liquor and food late into the night.
"With this order, there is clarity on the closure of the restaurants. The officials used to stop establishments from serving food after 11 p.m. which was unfair," TTAG spokesperson Ralph de Souza said.
The stringent election code of conduct for the March assembly polls had already dampened Goa's foreign tourist season a bit, which winds up formally in March, with the advent of the harsh summer. The month-long code of conduct which accompanies the impending polls for Goa's 170 plus panchayats could have only spoilt the party for domestic tourists who throng to Goa during the summer vacations.
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