With no big-ticket entertainment event scheduled for New Year in Goa, the state government said it could reconsider the fees levied on them in case organisers sought a reduction.The state, among the most vibrant in terms of parties and events to ring in the New Year, has no electronic dance music (EDM) festival, a regular feature since 2006, this time.
Several event organisers claimed that a steep rise in permission fees levied by the state Tourism department and by the Home department for police protection have played dampener.The permission fee for having an event of this magnitude in Goa has been hiked to Rs 1 crore, they said.
“If there is any demand from organisers of EDM or other events that the fee should be reduced, we are ready to consider it. We need a formal request, Till now, however, no one has come forward with such a request,” Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar said.
Agreeing that these fees were a drawback, Ajgaonkar said, “I had spoken to the Chief Minister asking him to reconsider the fee being charged to provide police protection for such events.” “Not only tourism events, even sports events are facing a problem due to the hike in police protection fees,” he added.
The Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, an umbrella body of tourism stakeholders, said the fee levied by the Tourism department’s Permission Committee has been driving away events organisers.
“The fee levied for events is very high. What is the reason for charging Rs 1 crore as fee for an event when we are paying all taxes to the government and are holding events in private places with our own infrastructure?” questioned TTAG president Savio Messiah.He also called the hike in police protection fee as unwanted.
He further claimed the state government was levying entertainment tax on complimentary tickets given to politicians and bureaucrats.