Lantern Festival at Morjim’s Turtle Nesting Site at Halt: Goa Tourism

Goa Tourism Department geared up to halt the Lantern Festival scheduled at Morjim's turtle nesting site.

Lantern Festival at Morjim’s Turtle Nesting Site at Halt: Goa Tourism

As government departments prepared to stop the lantern festival planned at Morjim’s turtle nesting site on Saturday, the organizers decided to cancel the event on their website. Activists voiced concerns on social media, warning that the event could pose a fire hazard to marine life and the community. The bright lights at the turtle hatchery could also disrupt the remaining hatchlings, nearing the end of their incubation period.

The organizers simply posted “Glowfest cancelled” on their page. The cancellation came after activists protested on social media and submitted petitions to authorities to address the potential danger to marine life, which is already under stress from various activities. The forest department took swift action in response to the concerns raised by the activists.

Prem Kumar R, the Deputy Conservator of Forests overseeing wildlife and eco-tourism in the northern region, reached out to the Environment Secretary to address concerns regarding the protection of the turtle hatchery and nesting site on Morjim beach.

Highlighting that the entire expanse of Morjim beach serves as a nesting ground for Olive Ridley turtles, Prem Kumar R emphasized that hosting the event at this location would contravene the rules and regulations set forth by the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA).

Similarly, Atmaram Gauns, the Range Forest Officer in charge of the marine area in Morjim, brought to GCZMA’s attention that the organizers of the event had not provided the necessary documentation or obtained permission for the festival. Gauns further urged the local police station in Morjim to intervene and prevent the festival from taking place.

Prior to these communications, the Deputy Collector of Pernem had instructed the police station in Mandrem to deploy sufficient personnel and closely monitor the situation to ensure the festival did not proceed as planned. Additionally, the Tourism Department confirmed that the event organizers had failed to seek approval for the event.

Suneel Anchipaka, the director of tourism, stated that appropriate steps have been taken to address the issue. The focus remains on promoting regenerative tourism and ensuring the protection of the ecology and environment. Despite the event cancellation, activists were surprised to find that the booking link is still active. An activist expressed vigilance, stating that they are closely monitoring the situation.

“The department has not received any application from the organisers to conduct the Lantern festival and no permission has been granted for the same. Necessary action has been initiated in this regard. We have been focusing on promoting regenerative tourism and we shall not allow any event which threatens the ecology or the environment.” Statement by Shri. Suneel Anchipaka, IAS, Director Tourism, Govt. of Goa the organisers announced cancellation of the event on their website.

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