The Jan Andolan of our times

A few days back, were some murmurs about a certain “Goa Regional Plan, 2011”. Since I was too far away from online reading and research, it missed my attention but now that I have learnt about it, I think its imperative that I mention it here on my website.

The Goa Regional Plan, 2011 (We’ll call it “GRP”) is a plan that aims (actually, aimed) to industralize Goa by opening up land for sale (Land in forest cover) and open up industries in the state (again, at the cost of land in forest cover).

Converting the green state into a concrete jungle while claiming to industralize it, was how it was planned. There is a strong link here — the one among politicians and the land mafia. I quote a post from Goa Blog here:

Viswajit Rane, (the son of Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane), on paper, is Congress general secretary but they claim he is using his influence to make a huge bid for a piece of Goa’s real estate action.

Documents show how between March and August 2006 in just five months 14 real estate companies have been floated, many of them in the name of Viswajit’s wife Divya Viswajit Rane.

The haste with which the companies were floated is evident in their registration numbers that run successively.

The suspicion is that Viswajit used his influence to convert forest or farmland which the companies bought at throwaway prices and then sold to builders at inflated prices.

And that could be just the tip of the iceberg. These builders belong to the land mafia of Mumbai and Delhi, who plan to build multi-storeys there, along the coast.

In fact, an article calims that the deals have already been done. The GRP was just a show to cover it all up. It was expected to be well received, a well scripted plan that would be appreciated all over — just like how it would have been celebrated in cities like Bangalore, Mumbai or Delhi. Greenery, Forest land and environment protection are terms which hold no meaning in our society. It will continue to be so until India’s exemption from the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol comes to an end.

Except of course, the residents of Goa, the strong willed they are, made sure that The GRP didn’t materialise. They came up with “Goa Bachao Abhiyaan (Save Goa Campaign)”, (website, www.savegoa.com), a campaign particularly aimed at demolishing The GRP. This was serious, even Pop Star Remo Fernandes voiced his support for it. As the agitation grew and the public anger apparent, the Government had to scrap the plan.

I can tell you, among all the people that I have come across, the people of Goa have always had a strong resentment against “Indian” politicians. I think some of it comes when they compare their times, not so long ago, with the Portugese. Besides, our politicans are a good for nothing lot. So, I’d say this is the biggest jan-andolan of our times. The verdict of the Junta. It’s an example of what education can accomplish, for Goa has one of the highest literacy rates in the country.

This plan would have been a disaster for the state. Being against this plan is not being against industralization but its being against over-industralization. For once, if I believe that there was not even a single culprit politician involved in it, I’d still say the administration’s greedy. Goa does not need an IT Park. There is ample employment in the state, enough revenue already (and increasing) through tourism. It seems a perfect script, a great place that has been well maintained by the residents and the Government, fishing and tourism being the major revenue earners. People are visiting the place more and more, the focus should be to preserve what we already have, instead of destroying it.

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