Notwithstanding security concerns in the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, the Goa Carnival later this month will take place on the promenade along the picturesque Mandovi river, officials said.
Security agencies had suggested deviations from the traditional route citing a potential seaward terror threat, but the organisers of the Carnival 2009, to be held from February 21-24, have refused to follow them. “The route suggested by the police runs through the city and is not conducive to the traditional fanfare we are used to during Carnival,” Goa Tourism Development Corporation vice chairman Lyndon Monteiro told reporters here.
“There are other logistical issues to be considered. There are several overhead wires along the route they suggested and it is not picturesque,” he said, adding that despite the police force’s apprehensions, the organisers had the last word. Security is not the only looming worry for the organisers, given the global financial crisis. “This year, we do not have money to spend on the festival,” Monteiro said. “While the costs have increased due to inflation, the grant-in-aid received from the government is the same at Rs 62 lakh approximately,” he said, adding that this had forced the organisers to do some cost-cutting. “We will not have any foreign samba dancing troupes this year,” Monteiro said.
The popular samba dancing groups had been brought in from Brazil for the float parade last year. Unique to Goa, the carnival festivities are held just before the holy season of Lent and involves colourful parades and celebrations in the form of float processions, rumbling through the main streets of four major towns in Goa – Panaji, Margao, Vasco and Mapusa.
The float parades are led by King Momo or the King of the Carnival, who is given the key to the city. They attract thousands of tourists from within the country and abroad.