There’s trouble in paradise. Goa’s Congress led ruling coalition is struggling to keep its flock together, as it battles growing statewide opposition to a plan to develop land in the state.
The Congress party’s own members are now questioning the reasons behind the development model and are asking if the plan has more then just Goa’s interests at heart.
The controversial new plan will open up about 7 crore square metres of forest and farmland for construction.
As protests grow over the plan, its seen cracks within the ruling party
The man behind the plan is Town and Country Minster Babush Monserrat, who has always fought charges of pandering to a construction lobby.
Now, his own party colleagues are hinting at corruption.
“Goa will never be Goa. It will be another metropolis and Goa will attract financial sharks. Real estate sharks and this is not what Goans should want. Somebody seems to be in a hurry to make pots of money,” said Jitendra Deshprabu, Congress spokesperson.
Sensitive coastal zones
But the state say that as Goa grows as a global and local hotspot, they have to open up spaces to develop.
But activists say that the new plan opens up land in the sensitive coastal zones and that its been released without any discussion.
“We are against the manner in which the whole plan was passed. Without consulting architects and planners which itself is very suspicious,” said Dr Oscar Rebello, Convenor, Goa Bachao Abhiyaan.
Everyone’s come together to fight the new plan from NGOs to ordinary Goans to even the local church, which wields a powerful influence.
“If this regional plan is implemented Goans will suffer. They will lose the best of their land and forests. The acquisition of land for new settlements is totally for non Goans. We are not against outsiders but outsiders will outnumber Goans and the culture and identity will suffer,” said Father Antonio Gomes, Parish Priest.
The activists have gone to court against the plan but while the court decides the public protests will carry on to protect India’s most popular beachfront paradise.
Credits: Frankey Fernandes NDTV