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‘Watermark’ leaves Mandovi to evade GCZMA action

Panaji: The  floating restaurant vessel ‘Watermark’ moored along  the Mandovi riverbank in the city disappeared before  it could be inspected and action could be taken on Thursday by the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority  for an outright CRZ violation.

‘Watermark’ has been touted as Goa’s first floating luxury lounge and bar, which is  jointly owned  by Trivesh Azgaonkar, who is the son of Tourism Minister Manohar ‘Babu’ Azgaonkar.

Recently a complaint had been filed by activist Kashinath Shetye with the GCZMA alleging that the ‘Watermark’ operators  illegally put up the floating pontoon along the bank of the Mandovi without obtaining the CRZ clearance. 

Following the instruction from the member secretary of the GCZMA, an  inspection of the site where the vessel had been moored was to be carried out on Thursday morning. However, when GCZMA’s expert members – Dr Prabhakar Shirodkar and engineer Audhoot Bhonsule – went to the site on Thursday morning for the inspection they found that the vessel had made a disappearing act  in the night before any action could be taken against the violators.

The GCZMA team said the ‘Watermark’ operators do not  have any clearance neither for setting up  the  floating pontoon nor for  starting   commercial activities along the bank of  the Mandovi, which falls under the coastal regulation zone.

During the site inspection the team  found that the  vessel had been moved out of the riverbank site by the operators a night before the  inspection so as to get around GCZMA action. Now  only  an  advertisement board and the illegal 50-metre-long wooden pontoon deck that  connected to the vessel stand testimony to the illegal act.

The authority is now in a dilemma as to whom  the notice should be issued for the outright CRZ violation because the complainant  has not mentioned the names of the  owners or operators.

‘Watermark’ is a joint venture of T-Mark Hospitality run by a  trio – Shikhar Kumar, Rhea Kumar and Trivesh Azgaonkar.  The floating lounge and bar was inaugurated by  Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on May 7 in the presence of other member of the state legislative assembly. With a similar design to a ship, the restaurant has three levels – an intimate upper deck, a lower deck for live music and a kitchen at base. The vessel had been  first anchored at Arambol and shifted to  the Mandovi in May.

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