Maharashtra permits shacks on 8 Konkan beaches

Maharashtra cabinet cleared a policy to allow temporary shacks on some beaches across Konkan coast, like in Goa.

As per the cabinet decision, a pilot project on eight beaches will be undertaken and depending on demand it will be extended. Two popular beaches from four districts, including Bordi and Kelwe in Palghar, Varsoli and Diveagar in Raigad, Guhagar and Araware in Ratnagiri, and Kundkeshwar and Tarkali in Sindhudurg have been finalised. The policy has been under discussion since 2017.

Officials said since the beaches fall under coastal regulation zone, shacks can be set up on some beaches after Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority clearance. Application forms will be available online.

Only 10 shacks will be allowed per beach. “We will give preference to applications made by locals. The idea is to boost tourism and open up an alternative economy for locals,” said Shiv Sena leader and cabinet minister Anil Parab.

Eighty percent of the jobs generated by the shacks will be held by locals, Parab asserted.

Each shack will be 15ft x 15ft and 12 ft high, and will allotted for three years with a non-refundable charge of Rs.15,000. The applicant will have to pay Rs.45,000 in the first year, Rs.50,000 in the second and Rs.55,000 in the third. A refundable deposit of Rs.30,000 will be taken.

The shacks can be open from 7.am to 7.pm and CCTV cameras for each one will be mandatory. “Charges that tourists will pay and other guidelines will be issued by MTDC soon,” said an official.

Tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray tweeted that eight beaches in Maharashtra were approved for eco-friendly shacks, which will be a major tourist facility, but that 80% employment for locals was a must.

Another decision taken by the cabinet was to give seven properties of MTDC to private players on lease or through a joint venture for up to 90 years. Thackeray said this will help the state increase revenue and build world-class tourism. The seven properties include five resorts in Mahableshwar, Matheran, Ganpatipule, Harihareshwar and Mithbab and two plots at Tadoba and Farbapur in Aurangabad will be put up for lease. Officials said the lease rent and period lease will be decided by a high-powered committee under the chief secretary.

“The two land parcels are nearly five hectares and how much will be given will depend on interest of the private player and requirement of the project,” said an official.

Goa’s shacks are synonymous with its beaches, which are an integral part of the tourism experience. While they offer locals employment, the shacks are temporary and are disbanded with the onset of monsoon. Also, before commencement of the tourism season in March, the state tourism ministry conducts a lottery to allot the shacks.

Last October, a Bombay high court bench permitted the Goa government to go ahead with its shack policy and vacated a stay by National Green Tribunal in September.

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