Can't hold wine festival in Goa on Republic Day: NGT

The four-day Grape Escapade, an annual wine and lifestyle festival that was to begin Friday, has been truncated to three days by the National Green Tribunal as Republic Day will be a `dry day`.

IANS| Updated: Jan 23, 2015, 21:28 PM IST

Panaji: The four-day Grape Escapade, an annual wine and lifestyle festival that was to begin Friday, has been truncated to three days by the National Green Tribunal as Republic Day will be a `dry day`.

The Western Zone bench of the NGT Friday directed the Goa government to limit the four-day festival (Jan 23-26) to three days, and censured the authorities for promoting sale of liquor on Republic Day.

"The CRZ (coastal regulatory zone) permission shall not be granted so far as Jan 26 is concerned for holding such festival. Nor any public authority shall allow sale of liquor throughout the state of Goa, which shall be declared as `dry day`," NGT`s two-member Pune bench comprising Justice VR Kingaokar and expert member Ajay Deshpande said in their order Friday.

The Grape Escapade 2015, is being billed by the host agency, the government-run Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC), as one of India`s largest wine festivals.

This year`s edition will see the participation of leading wineries like Big Banyan, Sula Vineyards, Grover Zampa Vineyards, Four Seasons, Fratelli Wines, Charosa, etc.

Musical extravaganzas as well as exotic cuisines are expected to be the highlights of the festival which gets underway late Friday.

The NGT bench, while ordering Republic Day to be left out of the itinerary, directed a senior official of the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) to ensure that its order is implemented.

"We direct the authorities, particularly, the member secretary of GCZMA to ensure that no permission be granted to conduct such festival on Republic Day on beaches or party of Goa and that Republic Day shall be celebrated with all sanctity in keeping with preambles of the Constitution, under which all states are expected to work," the order said.

A petition was earlier filed by Goa-based Kashinath Shetye against the hosting of the festival on the national holiday.

"The states cannot change their policies as per their will and desire because of their own local traditions, which were made in the past," the order further said.