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Sunburn permission a clear cut, open and shut case of corruption: Adv Ferreira



ALDONA: A day after the HC quashed the permission issued for Sunburn festival that was issued last year, Aldona MLA Adv Carlos Alvares Ferreira said that Goa government’s consistent ‘partnership’ with the organisers of Sunburn to allow the event to get its permissions at the last minute despite consistent sound violations was a “clear cut case of corruption.”

“This is a charge I’m making against the government. This is nothing but a clear cut open and shut case of corruption. Because you imagine you and I go for permissions, you will be asked to bring this document, bring that document, if we are holding a big event. The authorities clamp down on weddings, on small functions which poor people have, common citizens are having,” Adv Ferreira said.

“When it is a big fish you are standing there to protect it, you are standing there to allow it to happen. And you’re standing there to allow it to happen in breach of the law,” he added.

“I believe the HC should have gone one step further, to have asked the government to fix accountability for the grant of the permissions which have been given overnight. Simply quashing is one part of it. Fix accountability and take action against these people who have done this kind of breach. You will come to know whether they have done it on their own or whether they were pressured by some minister or another. The cat will come out of the bag,” he added.

“Definitely, this kind of activity could not have gone on and been permitted without the blessings of the government. Government has not simply compromised, the government has cooperated. It has been party to it. The government has been like a partner in this,” he added.

“You would remember some years back that when Sunburn was to be held, statements were made that Sunburn will not be allowed to be held. I think I make a charge that these kinds of statements are being made to increase the price. So that the moment and and say no then the organisers will come and offer more and then they get the permission. End of the day what happened? There was never a year when they didn’t have the permission, which was going on without the blessings of the government,” he said.

“If you remember in the lanes of Saligao, one tourism minister was meeting somebody there, and one newspaper published a photograph and video of that. And after that permission was granted. These kinds of shady things happened,” he recalled.

“If permission was granted earlier, people could have seen it and people could have moved the court or appropriate forum to challenge it. But by giving it at the last minute you don’t give people a chance,” he said.

“The wait and the pressure increases. They are so confident that they are getting the permission. They sell the tickets much in advance. The argument which will be used is we can’t sell the tickets at the last minute. And therefore we need to sell the tickets well in advance. Can I sell tickets for an event which I don’t know whether I’m holding or not? Unless I’m sure I’m holding the event I’m not going to be holding anytickets. So therefore, when the advertisement is out, when the websites are open for booking of tickets, you are very confident that you are going to have this event,” he said.

Adv Alvares also said that he didn’t agree with the High Court’s directions that a joint committee be empowered to enforce the noise levels.

“I would submit that I would not agree to such a committee. Because again the same officers will be on duty due to law and order. When I was arguing on behalf of Arnold D’Sa (Costa), we had made a suggestion to appoint other officers. Other officers who are of the rank of SP and Dy collector, can come and they can monitor. Because if you mix up the two you will not be able to control both at the same time,” he said.

“Unfortunately the government kept on giving assurances and our suggestion went into cold storage. So therefore I feel that this should be revived to allow for an external magisterial powers officers. This becomes a routine,” he said.

“The High Court found that there is rampant violation taking place on those days. 28th to 30th December 2022 with the authorities being mute spectators at the event. The reason they tried to give, the police and the magistrate said that they were there for law and order. And because they were controlling the crowd and looking after law order they could not look into this. It is in that context that the Chief Secretary requested a high powered committee, a coordination committee and this is what is to be put into effect which the high court has directed,” he added.