Saturday, 14 June 2008

Migrant Policy - Goa

Migrant Labourers/Vendors are seen as (A) Goa’s Necessity (B) Demographic Threat, (C) Political Vote Bank etc. Firstly I will state that Migrants have to be respected & treated well with basic human dignity. But let’s debate/address this sensitive issue fairly in a civilized manner; which in my view is a major factor diluting our Identity.

Like other places, we need migrants to develop/sustain Goa, but also as other places we need a migrant control policy e.g. The UAE with a minority local population has controls to ensure that the UAE remains with its people. All developed nations have/are pushing for tighter immigration controls. A humane policy is needed to protect both, Goan & Migrant interests which can include: Controlled migrant intake subject to requirement, Welfare e.g. Medical/Lodging, Human rights, Encouraging return when jobs are over etc.

Critics say migrants can live anywhere in India & there should be no controls; OK so what do we do? Do we accept/allow this to erode our Identity; if the latter is what the critics/majority wants then, let’s boldly declare Goa the 1st Cosmopolitan Indian State with no specific Local Identity/Language & term Goan no longer relevant? If there are ways we can preserve our Identity without such controls; then let’s hear it & accept it if feasible. Yes, some will quote the Constitution; Surely the threat to any identity was not foreseen, whilst framing the constitution else India’s founding fathers would have made provisions; then again there was no Goan input to framing of the constitution, as Goa was not part of India at that time!!

Politicians are mainly responsible for the migrants issue; way beyond our needs and give false reasons to us Gullible Goans E.g. Margao migrants are major vote bank of our Chief Minister; a clear manipulation of Democracy!! Can he work for Goan Interests when he does not need our Votes? How much Goan Taxpayers money/land is given to maintaining/growing the vote bank? Demographics are rapidly changing in Margao. Politicians use Migrants for Power; then what? Goans will pick up the pieces in the future. Margao had disturbances recently; this is simply because different communities will have different views; sometimes radically different. No community can accept a major demographic change in a relatively small period!!

Arwin Mesquita, UAE.

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