Saturday, 20 June 2009

Goa’s Freedom Fighters Priorities

The only major press coverages, I ever read about Goa’s Freedom Fighters is on opposing anything & everything Portuguese. This letter is not to support the former Portuguese rule or belittle any true sacrifices by Genuine Freedom Fighters. My point is that if at all, Goa’s Freedom Fighters want to act/speak for Goa’s interests, they must address the critical/ current issues of today, that are destroying Goa & Its identity, i.e.
(1) Scarce land sales to Non-Goans gradually putting Goa, in hands of Non-Goans.
(2) Uncontrolled migrant influx & vote-banks, which can result in Goans having no political say, in the affairs of Goa.
(3) Mega-Projects that are not only creating un-necessary employment for migrants but also bring in majority non-goan residents; to the detriment of Goa’s environment & demography.
(4) Large scale corruption which is gradually destroying Goa
(5) Governments faulty employment/industrial policies favouring non-goans and facilitating Goans to leave Goa in hordes, due to lack of opportunities at home.
(6) Intimidation/Threatening/Oppression of activists fighting to save Goa & its identity; in actual fact, have we actually replaced one group of oppressors by another i.e. Portugeese oppressors by now Indian/Goan oppressors?
(7) Exploitation of Goa by the privileged few; including Politicians, Mining/Builders Lobbies etc to realize huge illegitimate profits; at the cost of destroying Goa & its Identity!!

Unique Goa should have got safeguards in 1961 to protect its identity i.e. when Goa joined the Indian Union, via military action. With all due respect, Goa’s Freedom Fighters could have helped Goa get these safeguards, as then not only did Goans know of the special constitutional exceptions, for some other states e.g. Kashmir’s, but also had many other key factors in Goa’s favour. I understand that we can’t change the past, but surely the Freedom Fighters still have the power to influence Goa’s Future threatened by today’s issues, rather than dwell on past glories!!

Arwin Mesquita, UAE.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Gulf Non Resident Goans & Goa’s Migrants

Subject: Gulf NRG’s & Goa’s Migrants

My fair views on Goa’s migrants are deliberately distorted &, misquoted, by few individuals. See following facts on Gulf Non Resident Goans (NRG’s) & Goa’s Migrants:

(1) Gulf NRG’s are “only temporary migrants” i.e. (A) No political/voting rights to influence local identities and we work on time bound job permits; renewable subject to local requirements. (B) Land in some countries e.g. UAE, can only be bought on fixed year leases i.e. non-locals can’t permanently own land. (C) Some critics whilst looking at the “comfort factor” of Gulf NRG’s should also try to understand the huge sacrifices & hardships faced by many, Gulf NRG’s.

(2) Gulf NRG’s unfortunately left Goa; mostly due to no opportunities at sustainable pay scales. Root cause is the corrupt government & no public pressure to address the same.

(3) Yes, Goa need reasonable amount of migrants but then we also need a fair & just migrant control policy; subject to requirement. It should include decent but temporary housing facilities & fair health/welfare/other benefits; these suggestions will treat & respect migrants much better, than being done today.

(4) It is common knowledge that un-necessary destructive development; like the mega-projects are significantly increasing un-necessary migrants into Goa. Surely stopping of the mega-projects will significantly restrict migrants into Goa. Also many MLA’s facilitate slums for vote banks; addressing of which, will also restrict migrants.

(5) Some NRG’s target specific issues affecting Goa’s Identity i.e. Mega-projects, uncontrolled migrant influx, Konkani, Goan employment, Corruption, etc; which are also opposed by Goans in Goa; “If Gulf NRG’s support the same, does it make these serious issues a non-issue?” Also, most NRG’s have strong Goa links i.e. Families, homes, businesses etc and could return; so they must speak out & act for Goa now!!

Arwin Mesquita, UAE.

Mega Project Realities

Mega-projects overwhelming favouring Non-Goans still grow un-opposed in Goa. Deceitful critics & politicians show ignorance on the mega-project “definition” for obvious/selfish reasons; it may be not clearly defined but common sense should show that we don’t need to create residences for outsiders; to the Goan detriment. Mega residential projects for commercial purposes should be concretely defined, in consultation by Goans, to the scope of accommodating majority Goans only. It is not hatred to outsiders but just to preserve our scarce land for future generations besides maintain the Goan demographic majority/identity; which is not the case for the other bigger states or other countries.

We must understand that Mega projects “affect Goans of all Castes, Creed & Religions”:
(1) Destruction of Beautiful landscapes & rampant hill cutting.
(2) Reduction in Tourists who find Goa’s natural beauty gradually being destroyed.
(3) Pressure on fragile infrastructure, health/educational facilities, water & electricity.
(4) Increased Traffic Jams/Congestion & Air pollution.
(5) Increased wastes particularly toxic, leading to cancers & other serious diseases.
(6) Water contamination with understandable serious consequences E.g. Calangute today!!
(7) Increased temperatures & Carbon Dioxide emissions seriously affecting Goa’s Climate & contributing to Global Warming
(8) Create un-necessary employment & influx of migrant workers.
(9) Goans to minority, both from migrant workers brought in for constructions and the large percentage of Non-Goans purchasing the apartments.
(10) Severely affecting livelihoods/housing of poor Goans to favour rich outsiders & local politicians.
(12) Agriculture which should be addressed for Goa’s sustenance & self-reliance, is sadly being replaced by mega-projects... where’s the priority?
(12) Increased pressure on police & security services to protect a rapidly growing population.
(13) Financing our corrupt politicians to keep them in power for destroying Goa.

Un-necessary Constructions like the mega-projects clearly have serious negative implications & have to be constrained. Needless to say, current ones illegally passed, should be razed to the ground!!

Arwin Mesquita, UAE.