The alert of mega projects affecting water resources is now being trumpeted like as if it was a big secret . It was indeed illegal forest cutting in various parts of Goa which triggered a public hearing of the ad hoc committee on Agriculture and Forest this week where the rampant forest cutting and mega housing projects were pointed out as the major reasons for an impending water shortage awaiting to hit Goa hard.
With an elected government in place to take care of our welfare, it is ironically the citizens of the state, much after standing in long queues to exercise their valuable franchise, still having to garner common support in a bid to save Goa from the senseless destruction heaped on us by the very people who were expected to enhance our living, least of it contribute towards its destruction.
Goa was indeed a land with natural verdant beauty and a high sense of civic sense which failed to find a rival in the rest of the country. However it seems ' neighbours envy is our owners shame'. No wonder our 40 comedians are struggling their wanton best to ensure that they drag this beautiful 'once upon a time paradise' into a land infested with ugly concrete vultures and massive conversions of the Goan earthside , awaiting to be devoured into commercial capital enough to satiate only one objective - their unrelenting greed. They seem to be so enamoured of the civic sense prevailing in some unplanned cities of India with gutters, unattended garbage, flies, defecations and slums abounding in deafening co-existence that they wish to hoist this culture on Goans to satisfy their pot bellies.
All their vain harps about the development of Goa has been discovered to be a hollow drum beaten hard for its clamour to be desperately silenced. All their destructive development has been in the backdrop of zero concerns for the terrible fallout awaiting Goa and Goans. There is nil foresight of the depleting resources accommodating such gargantuan plans. Worse, no existing plan for the current impasse of garbage disposal and water depletion with a merciless pile-up over the overburdened apparatus. There are no studies done to fathom the capacity of any area in Goa . In fact no will to do a study lest it exposed a more sinister plan. However projects and mega projects continue to be planned, executed and foisted on us with regular impunity despite the unanimous civil unrest against such self-serving destruction.
For the Goan it has been an alarming situation in more ways than one. We have lived in a land of the bountiful unlike much of our countrymen who have revelled in the width of a proverbial hole and have lost little time to migrate to Goa once the taste of this breeze intoxicated them. While they are pumping in more of their tribe to feast on our misery, our brethren are selling land to survive long after the money of the gulf dried up and our old vintage houses crying for repairs had no economic brains to supplement themselves. The goa governments vintage policy only punishes you if you demolish old houses in place of new ones( disclaimer: big purses go scot free) but is bereft of any ideas to help you maintain the old house. Tourism is abounding in Goa but the government has no wits to utilise this flow towards a constructive plan to self-sustain colonial houses and other such old structures wilting under the 'conservation sword of democles' to stand on their own. The inevitable result of such a short sighted dumb policy has been telling.
Also for some other category of Goans, it seems that our pride of being the highest per capita winners in the whole country seems to be haunting us to keep pace with that position at the cost of our land. Brazen selling of land probably to see fatter chickens , expensive chonak and fatted pork on the dinner table has taken obvious precedence.
However it is certainly more to the administration in power to be responsible to set the rules of the game. With scarce land availability and the inability of the current resources in Goa to bear new burdens, common sense implies that some studies with experts in the field be carried out immediately and a planned sense of development be implemented which serves the interest of the Goan community at the best. We need peaceful coexistence with constructive and planned development at no cost to our environment. Period. Rules for land sale and land conversions in Goa have been crying to come into existence for decades. Yet there is no will.
Every gram sabha in almost every village of a Goa has been vociferous in their opposition to the haphazard development which has been planned by vested forces which may be Goan but which have no Goan interest in mind. Last week the Benaulim gram sabha was a picture of complete disgust and resignation when almost half the count of the members of the public attending the gram sabha went down literally on their knees folding their palms in pleading with the sarpanch and the panch members to resign en masse after failing to evince their co-operation in curbing down mega projects in their village. Simply goes to show that the venom of our 40 comedians has sunk deep into village administrations who seem to be entrenched with poisonous cues from their masters.
The blindness of the current dispensation to live upto the aspirations of the people will surely cost them dear in the near future untill some sense prevails in asserting the problem in right earnest.
In the meanwhile it is no wonder that Goans have begun to oppose each and every project of whatsoever name and size with no malice. Only the fear of the unknown. Our 40 comedians are solely responsible for this disease which has become chronic and will lead to far more complications in Goa than their wallets think.