It’s a new day and a new week as you step out of your homes and travel to your places of work, of business and even studies. Look at the changing landscape around you. Scores of permanent structures in the paddy fields of Saligao and Bastora, the filling up of mangroves outside Merces with construction debris, the carving out of hills into plots and roads in Verna, the quietly mushrooming mini townships in Bardez, Mormugao and Tiswadi talukas – is this the same land of prosperous Gaunkaris, efficient Communidades and strong village republics that we so proudly call Goa? After the mass migration of the 80s and 90s that brought in scores of blue-collared people who built the slums of Zuari Nagar, Moti Dongor, Mapusa, Baina and Mangor; there are new ghettoes in town which are quietly rising up in the form of Mega Projects and Mini Townships. These are the islands of affluence and influence and they are the new headaches that shall split the Goa in the future. This is the new age Ghettoisation of Goa.
If Govt of Goa or its TCP Department has to believe, the construction industry of Goa is on the rocks! Surprisingly, a brewer would tell you that on the rocks also means served undiluted and with ice cubes. The industry may be fighting battles with activists but was quietly building a neighbourhood, after neighbourhood using an in abeyance RP 2021. These were bought by thousands of aspiring Indians and NRIs who wanted a home in the golden sun and sands of Goa. Little did they realise that their dream homes would be marring the same landscapes that they have aspired for all their lives. You love the Taj Mahal. You don’t build an 8 storeyed, 250 flats gated neighbourhood outside it and tell people to move away from their homes 'cos they spoil their views. Get the picture? That is where Goa is heading.
There are a billion ways to attract investments into Goa. Real estate should have been the least and last of the ways. We are creating an economy where supply shall create its own demands and not the other ways. Tiny Goa seems to be aspiring for everything big. In tourism, we have over 18500 taxis and we see most of them idling at street corners, parking and outside hotels. In mining, we had over 22000 tippers and trucks 525 barges serving the industry. And what the last Census of India revealed was that Goa has the highest proportion of locked houses in India. Question is, why are we then cribbing for more homes, more gated neighbourhoods and for whom?
What Goans need to understand is that the ‘Rich Dream’ of TCP Department and Revenue Department is not about kickstarting economy but serving as a retail supermarket for property in Goa. What these two dynamic gentlemen heading the aforementioned Department however never did was do a social audit of how migration has changed the face of Goa forever. A state where our women folk could walk alone in the dead of night has an island of individuality where outsiders (read: Goans are not allowed). Ask the old timers of Monte Hill (now Moti Dongor), Mangor (now Shantinagar), Chimbel (now Indira Nagar) to understand where the division of Goa began. The numerous new posh and gated communities are no different as their residents live in islands of isolation detached and misunderstood of Goan culture.
The fight for Goem, Goenkar and Goenkarponn is not just a land fight, a landscape fight or a landlord fight. It is more a fight to stop the mindless dilution of an ecosystem of friendly, mixing, supporting and selfless sussegad (relaxed not lazy!) people with hordes of achievers, gold diggers and exploiters waiting to ravage the sanity and serenity of Bangarachem Goem.