Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hutments and shanties – An eyesore of Goa and a threat of an impending slum

It seems that the authorities have recently pulled down some illegal hutments in and around margao in Goa. This is probably a scratch on the mountain.
It is always a mystery to me as to how the government allows the proliferation of these hutments in the first place. Why the municipal authorites and the panchayats do not crack down on these illegal hutments for years until they pose a social problem?

Corruption it may seem to be the least worry here. But at the root of the problem is indeed corruption. Migrant labour first come to Goa and see vacant land all around. The owners of these properties may be abroad or these properties may be communidade land. It all starts with one hut or a couple of huts. Then some more join in. Soon they get electricity and a borewell is dug for them to drink water. Talathis come to their house to give them ration cards and hospitals offer them medical facilities. All they need now is a sale deed to transfer their shanty in their name. But they don’t need that. Everyone knows that the residents of these hutments cannot afford to pay bribes to stay there. So how do they manage to stay there despite being there illegally.

The answer to this it seems is the greed of the vote bank. The politician allows it to ensure that a new vote bank is created. And does not disturb it .

This greed causes a social unrest and invites people of all hues and colours illegally in a place which does not belong to them. In times later when the local residents complain strongly, the issue becoming unbearable by then, the hutment dwellers approach the politician citing their long duration of stay and the greedy MLA gives in to them and applies pressure to stop the demolitions.

In short due to the greed of one person, or due to the greed of 40 thieves in Goa we all have to suffer. If this proliferation of hutments is not curtailed immediately Goa is bound to see the mushrooming of slums all over and soon becoming another dharavi (Asia ‘s biggest slum in Mumbai).

We cannot afford this to happen. Our culture in Goa is to keep goa clean and tidy for so many years. People from other parts of India want to make Goa their home once they see clean Goa. But they fail to undertstand that when they live in Goa they need to imbibe local cultural values. They think they are in their home state and have no value of garbage disposal etc like their home state culture. they therefore create a social unrest and this needs to be addressed immediately

Slums from the lower class or insensitiveness of migrants from India . Both can spell goa’s doom and needs to be checked. Will the sleazy politician keep Goa above petty politics at least now?

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