Drinking has been banned on beaches in Goa, India, as authorities attempt to crack down on littering and nuisance.
Those who fail to heed the new ruling, announced last week, could face arrest.
Alcohol will continue to be sold in hotels and the licensed bar shacks, and can be consumed on the premises, but walking or sitting elsewhere with a drink will no longer be permitted.
The ban was introduced under the Goa Tourist Places (Protection and Maintenance) Act. According to Nikhil Desai, Goa’s Tourism Director, “the act envisages to protect and maintain the tourist places from deterioration and erosion, and preserve the tourism potential”.
A senior official at the tourism department told the Times of India that tourists were being injured by stepping on broken bottles on the beach.
Picnicking locals will also be affected.
The official referred to recent reports of crimes against women in the country and told the newspaper that the step had also been taken “to prevent Eve teasing on Goan beaches”.
A section of the Goa police force responsible for maintaining order on the state’s beaches, the Indian Reserve Battalion, will enforce the rule.
Those found drinking on the beach will first be warned of the need to comply with the rule.
Goa’s beaches are popular with British tourists and offer a range of bars, from low-key shacks to five-star hotel bars and nightclubs.
Goan authorities are keen to promote tourism in the region but aware too of the sensitivities of the local population – they recently turned down an application from Playboy to open an open-air club in the state .
The adult entertainment brand asked to open as a beach shack on upmarket Candolim Beach, but was told that permission would only be given to individuals, rather than global chains.
PB Lifestyle, Playboy’s Indian franchisee, is causing controversy with its plans to open 120 clubs hotels and cafes in India. The official bunny uniform, apparently signed off personally by Hugh Hefner, consists of a floor-length chiffon skirt and a tight, sleeveless top, cropped above the midriff.
The decision regarding Candolim Beach does not prevent clubs opening elsewhere in the state however.