Goa to ban drinking near Spanish saint's feast site

Panaji, Nov 3: The Goa government will prohibit drinking in and around the historic Old Goa church complex which, later this month, will host the state's biggest religious event in a decade - the decennial exposition of Spanish Saint Francis Xavier.

Chief minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters here that instructions to this effect had been issued to liquor retailers and bars near the church complex, located about 10 km from Panaji, and those drinking in the open will be prosecuted.

"Bars will not be allowed to sell liquor in PET bottles and retailers have been asked to pack bottles before selling them. They have also been issued instructions not to allow customers to drink in the open," Parrikar told reporters after inspecting the preparedness for the exposition.

"Anyone seen with open bottles or glasses in public will be prosecuted. Instructions have been issued," Parrikar said.

Goa has a comparably less severe alcohol regime and the prices are cheaper compared to other states in the country making it a major draw for tourists coming here.

The 16th century Spanish saint is credited with bringing Christianity to Goa and every 10 years his remains, reverentially referred to as 'relics' and stored carefully away from public gaze, are exhibited to the general public.

According to the church authorities, around five million devotees from across the world are expected to attend the event this year.


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