Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Goa's special status : No will to indulge!

The war cries have been loud and clear. From the draconian regional plan 2011 to the garbage mess, Goans have come out in large numbers to oppose every kind of lopsided development meant only for Goa's doom. Yet our leaders seem to be blind and deaf to the emerging anger and indignation towards greedily hurried development plans.The urge to extract every ounce of flesh from development seems to be the only motive behind the rampant concretisation of Goa.

It is therefore urgent to address the real need to protect Goa through a special legislation meant for the benefit of the residents of the state to conserve our scanty resources which have served us enormously well over the years and which are threatening to fall apart unless the tide is arrested. A special status for Goa is long overdue.

This need for special status was actually an old demand made by a section of the Goan population long before liberation of Goa from the hands of the Portuguese. However there was another equally stronger section within Goa, which was apprehensive of looking at this special status as a means to extend the Portuguese association of Goa. This led to befuddled Goans searching for their own identity which in some way was relented by the culmination of the historic Opinion Poll in which Goans decisively voted in favour of preserving the separate identity of Goa within the Indian union rather than be lost in the numerous districts of the gigantic Maharashtrian state.

While Goa has taken strides in many fields which include tourism, its elevation as a state within the Indian Union is itself a special status considering that Goa is  smaller in size than a district of the larger states and had a population of around eleven lakhs at the time of statehood.

However the real Special status that the people of Goa forgot to seek is something for which Goa is desperately crying at present. Our land is rampantly bought by all and sundry making it difficult for us to afford this very earth in our own homeland. Besides whoever has bought our land has been misusing it so badly that it is rendering our environment under severe stress.

Due to this, the garbage which is piling up by the day has no place to go and is being dumped around Goan residences thereby suffocating people with the stench and disease of others. The garbage has also destroyed our wells ,springs and rivers. Rampant development is destroying our ecology, and our beaches are being ravaged upon with CRZ norms being flouted. All this is being done at the behest of our leaders whom we elected and sent to manage the state.

We have been forced to fight  draconian under-carpet designed plans for the destruction of the state of Goa. While ordinary citizens are constrained to come out in the streets to save themselves from the ignominy of being trampled at will, our leaders are cursing the lost opportunity of making their bellies fatter with the booty.

It is therefore most important that Goans fight in one voice to enact a legislation to save Goa from the butchery that Goa is presently witnessing. We need to have an act which does not allow rampant sale of land to all and sundry. And it should not be limited to agricultural land alone. Saving agricultural land alone is of no use as the same is converted under dubious means and then sold which makes it a useless farce.

We need to stop selling an inch of land to people who are not domiciled in Goa for the last 40 years. Stop it forthwith or else our Goa will soon turn into another Mumbai with greedy gluttons overpowering us in making our land into a concrete jungle for all the monkeys of the world to hop around.

Our political parties in Goa must be forced to set aside their own interests and be able to unite, while engaging intellectuals and administrators to draft a comprehensive legislation top protect Goa's interest in all eventualities. It may amount to demanding an amendment to the Constitution of India, but if it comes in one voice it should not be difficult for the Government of India to consider it. Besides we have a valid argument of being merged into India after being liberated from the Portuguese and as such have descended from a different history and needs to be addressed specifically.

We need a legislation.We need it now.It is absolutely urgent and needs to be addressed with utmost immediacy. Else Goa is heading for the gutter.

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