At the Last NRI Global Goan Convention in January 2007, I queried the then Goa Government (Dr. Wilfred D'Souza, Mr. Digambar Kamat & Mr. Dayanand Narverkar) at the Secretariat, on the issue of preserving Goan Land, Culture & Identity; and asked how Overseas Goans can help in the same. At that point, I was requested by the NRI Commissioner Mr. Eduardo Faliero & The then Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Wilfred D'Souza to give a proposal for the same to the Goa Government. Please see my proposal below. I have followed up with the NRI commissioner to get a reply from the Goa Government at his visit to Abu Dhabi in December 07; and his office has promised to help at the earliest.
To,Dr. Wilfred D'Souza,Deputy Chief Minister,Government of Goa.
From,Arwin Mesquita,Abu Dhabi, UAE,Dated: 03rd Feb 2007.
As it was requested at the Global Goans Convention, in presence of Mr. Eduardo Faliero, Commissioner of NRI Affairs; please see my proposal below to save Goan Identity.
Set up a Goa Government Committee to preserve Goan Identity and initiate the below:
(1) Urgent Dialogue with Government of India.(Very Important)
- Initiate a Government Committee to start an urgent dialogue with the Government of India on how to protect Goan Identity, Culture & Land. Given the fact, that we are a small population and cannot afford to take in so much migration & sell out land to non-goans, at such a rapid rate. Most other states can manage to keep their identity, as their populations/states are larger.
- I think that the Indian Government has an obligation to protect Goan Identity; since they had liberated Goa for the better.
(2) Global and Local Awareness Programme.
- Start an awareness programme on the need for Overseas Goans to return home, invest & help preserve our Identity; before its too late!!
- Start an awareness programme for Local & Overseas Goans on the ill effects of selling Land/Prized Houses to Outsiders and the negative implications, it will cause for Goa's Future and its Children.
(3) Culture and Language.
- Make it mandatory or offer incentives to promote Goan Culture aggressively vs. other cultures.
- Setup an action plan to effectively promote Goan Language and Culture.
(4) Opportunities within the Indian Constitution.
- Appoint a legal team to look at opportunities within the Legal Framework and Indian Constitution, on how Goa can protect its Identity & Land. There has to be something in the constitution to protect communities; where there is a real threat to its respective identity?
(5) Land- Setup a Land Bank to preserve Land that can only be Sold to Goans.
- Stop all land sales to Foreigners and investigate/ nullify any transfers done in the past.- Investigate all big projects thoroughly to ensure all norms are met before approval; Housing Complexes particularly that are not in the interests of Goans, should not be approved/passed i.e. ones that will not largely accommodate Goans permanently.
-Set up an professional anonymous hot line to report any land violations to a vigilance cell in the Government i.e. Agricultural Land Conversions etc
I strongly feel we should do something now, when we are in the majority and before its too late!! This committee I am proposing can also start getting ideas/suggestions from Goans (Local & Global) on how Best to preserve Goan Identity, Culture, Land & Language. Appreciate if you can please help address this very important issue urgently and let me have a reply at the earliest.
Yours Sincerely,Arwin Mesquita, UAE.