Carnival parades in Goa await ECI permit

Panaji: The Election Commission of India (ECI) is yet to give clearance to the carnival parades in Goa, organised by the tourism department in major cities of the state for the February 17 festivities.

ECI officials here had referred government`s proposal of holding Carnival parades to the Chief Election Commissioner.

Joint Chief electoral Officer Narayan Navti said that they are yet to receive any response from Delhi. The local office, in the meantime, has asked the Carnival celebration committees to give the list of committee members. "We have received lists from Ponda, Mapusa and Panaji cities," Navti said.

The Commission has made it clear that the committee will comprise of all the government officers, mostly from the local municipal councils to ensure that code of conduct for the March 3 assembly polls is not violated.

If granted permission, the Commission has instructed that the floats would be scanned to ensure that they don`t act as a vehicle for political campaigning. However, the delay in deciding on carnival festivities is worrying the tourism industry in the state.

Travel and Trade Association of Goa (TTAG), the state`s apex tourism body, on Monday met local ECI officials and urged them to allow the parades. TTAG said that cancellation of parades would cut into the tourist inflow in Goa.

Gaurish Dhond, TTAG President, said the Carnival is a major tourist attraction for domestic and foreign travellers. "We should allow the floats. Let ECI scan them for code of conduct," Dhond said. The state tourism department officials said that they will host the parades only if ECI permits.