PANJIM RESIDENTS PROTEST CCP ORGANISED SUMMER FESTIVAL 2011

PANJIM: In what could be termed as an ironic situation, the 'Together for Panjim-Panjim Summer Festival 2011' organized by the Corporation of the City of Panjim (CCP) to raise awareness about ecological issues has led to protests by Panjim residents for damaging plants in the city park.
On Sunday morning, a group of 15 to 20 Panjim residents gathered in protest outside the Jardim Garcia de Orta municipal park in the capital city where the event managers of the Panjim Summer Festival were preparing for the evening's festivities. The residents confronted the event managers over covering the hedges in the park with cloth, damaging the plants in the process.
The residents were especially annoyed with the situation as the park had recently got a makeover. Panjim-resident and one of the directors of the Goa Forest Development Corporation, Joe D'Souza, said, "The CCP is no doubt the owner of the garden, but the corporation maintains the park. The park has been given to this event management company to organize the Summer Festival. When I came here this morning I found that the hedges were covered in cloth so that the event managers could keep a music system on them. This can severely damage the plants. There were also wires everywhere and tents were put up inside the park."
The protestors also opposed the use of alcohol at the festival. D'Souza said, "The park is meant for people to relax. The park is not to have a one-night party where you can drink alcohol and enjoy. We also saw a motor bike parked inside the park for transportation of some material for the festival."
The protestors and the event managers got into an argument over the festival arrangements and this prompted the protestors to call the forest corporation managing director Richard D'Souza and CCP mayor Yatin Parekh to resolve the dispute.
CCP councilor Vedahi Naik, in whose ward the park is located, also joined the protestors, "I can understand organizing programmes for entertainment. But we were against the sale of eatables on the footpath. I am also against the serving of liquor in the park. We questioned the mayor on how much revenue will be generated from the event and whether it is worth destroying the only full-fledged park in the city. "
After a couple of hours of convincing, the CCP and the event managers finally agreed to remove the cloth covering the plants and hedges and the tents put up on the lawns were also shifted outside the park.
CCP mayor Yatin Parekh said that the festival's first day was a grand success and that he had deployed security personnel to see that no damage is caused to the plants and the park property. He also said that he had visited the park in the morning not to address the protestors but to monitor the festival's preparations.  "The festival is a grand success and people are only finding excuses to criticize it because of political reasons," Parekh said.
The festival will go on every Sunday evening till the end of May. Vedahi Naik said that she will observe how the festival goes on and if she notices any further damage to the park, she will not allow the summer festival to go on any further. - TNN

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