Goa probe into fashion fest

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Panaji: The Environment Ministry in Goa has decided to question the district administration and organisers of show for holding a fashion event on a beach that has been declared as a protected turtle nesting site.

The Forest Department in Goa has been protecting four beaches-Morjim, Pernem, Agonda and Galjibag-which are conventionally visited by Olive Ridley turtles to lay eggs during this season. This amphibious creatures travel thousands of miles to reach the coast.

Last Saturday, the India Resort Fashion Week was held at Morjim beach, located 35 kms north of Panaji, even though the environmentalists had earlier pointed out to the organisers that it was a protected nesting site for turtles.

"There were specific instructions to the state administration and police not to allow any party except for religious and traditional celebrations on the shorelines, which are notified as turtle nesting sites," state Science and Environment Director Micheal D`Souza said.

Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA), a body under environment ministry, had issued directions on November 4 and another rejoinder on December 1, asking the authorities not to allow beach parties at the four beaches.
D`Souza said that the district administration would be questioned, why the event was allowed to take place on the beach despite the orders.

The India Resort Fashion show, one of the most important events on the fashion calendar was kick started in a starred resort at Bambolim near here on December 7 and was later shifted to Marbela beach, Morjim on December 10.

District administration, which had initially said that permission might be withheld for the show, later said that the "environment ministry had given verbal consent to allow the show happen." The Ministry has, however, rubbished the district administration`s claims saying that "in the presence of a written circular, there cannot be any verbal permission to violate the law."

With its 105-km-long coastline, Goa hosts several beach parties during X`mas and New Year celebrations.

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