Although it is not one of India’s poorest states, Goa today is facing many problems. Because of its high unemployment, it is losing many educated adults while, at the same time, importing manual labor from other parts of India. Goans are leaving this state in record numbers to further their education or to work in the Kuwait, England, Canada, and Australia to make money with hopes of returning to Goa with their wealth. Tourism has now become a major industry that is having a significant impact on the economy. The local hotels in northern Goa are giving way to large chain resort hotels and the beach areas are overrun by stalls selling crafts and a variety of touristy items made in other parts of India and hawked by non-Goans, including many Kashmiris.
Hotels, airlines, casinos, restaurants and the tourist businesses are capitalizing mightily on the Goan culture and heritage “trade brand”. What do Goans get back for the land resources, the heritage and Goan culture that these investors then market for billion dollar profits?
One should remember that the prosperity and wealth that the central and state governments and the mining, industrial, tourism, and other economic sectors have been extracting from Goa’s unique identity and resources, is also creating the path to Goan extinction. A new and serious lament has arisen in Goa that is the disappearance of Goans from Goa. Goan land, assets, jobs; government contracts are passing into the hands of non-Goans.
Goa’s activists have fought for the liberation of Goa. They have also been battling to save Goa’s heritage and the environment from mega industrial schemes like the SEZ’s, mining destruction, a tourism and casino business that brings in drug and human trafficking, and mega construction projects that clearly are for wealthy non-Goans. But “Save Goa” for whom when there has been no action to ensure the continued presence of the Goans themselves in Goa and to see that they own an equitable share of their homeland?
What about jobs, investment opportunities, and Goa government contracts? Goans are also lamenting that these are going to non-Goans at an increasing pace. With the money these non-Goans make in Goa, at the cost of the Goan taxpayer for government jobs and contracts, they can afford to buy land and housing in Goa and displace the local Goan.
What is the solution for this?
There is no rocket science in this. Goans on their part can contribute to saving Goa from getting into the hands of outsiders. The reason of Outsiders slowly occupying the land in Goa is only because Goans sell their precious golden land to them and move to places like Canada, England, Kuwait and other Parts of the world. To make a little money, most of the Goans also rent their beautiful places to non-Goans who then give a not so pleasant look to that place. Now that Non-Goans are here in Goa for such a long time, they are very much familiar with the local language that is Konkani. At times their Konkani is much better than that of Goans. It’s high time that Goans wake up and get into action to give back Goa its unique identity. If Goans present their culture and traditions to tourists, revenue from the tourist industry can provide employment to Goans, assist in raising funds for preserving their museums, ancient sights, and traditions. Goans should take steps to preserve their unique Goan identity before it is lost forever or completely absorbed by an India.