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No permission given to ‘Watermark’: govt

Panaji: Stating that no permission has been given to the floating restaurant ‘Watermark’ anchored in River Mandovi, the government, on Tuesday, indicated that the particular restaurant was running illegally without the approval of any authority.

“However, permission was granted only for floating pontoon by Captain of Ports,” informed the Minister for Ports Michael Lobo, in a written reply to the State Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.

Lobo also stated that No Objection Certificate was given to build a jetty (along the River Mandovi) opposite the statue of the former chief minister Dayanand Bandodkar.

The written reply further informed that Trivesh Ajgaonkar, a resident of Saraswati Niwas, Pajifond-Margao is the owner of the company, which was permitted to construct the particular jetty. Incidentally, he is the son of the Minister for Tourism, Manohar ‘Babu’ Ajgaonkar.

It may be recalled that advertised as a floating luxury lounge and bar, ‘Watermark’ disappeared from its location in River Mandovi last month, and was found at Amona, which is a part of the constituency of the Chief Minister, Pramod Sawant.

It was later revealed that this lounge cum bar was moved away from the capital city as the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) was scheduled to conduct its inspection for an outright Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) violation.

When Lobo was asked through a related question by the Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Nilkanth Halarnkar as to whether the No Objection Certificates from CRZ authority as well as the Corporation of the City of Panaji were obtained, he stated that it is mandatory for the company to obtain NOC from other concerned authorities as applicable.

‘Watermark’ was inaugurated by the Chief Minister on May 7 in the presence of many legislators. With a design similar to a ship, the restaurant cum bar has three levels – an intimate upper deck, a lower deck for live music, and a kitchen at the base.

The Congress party had also raised questions over the legality of ‘Watermark’ stating that the Minister for Tourism was breeding irregularities in his own house.

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