It is time for an overhaul of all CRZ and other rules. Under these draconian rules, local lands have been devalued and locals have sold out to outsiders who have bribed panchayats and bureaucrats to construct at will. One just has to look at the coastal belt where huge construction has happened over the last decade.
This corruption has led to massive disillusionment in local government. Vested interests and corrupt NGO’s have sprouted a dime a dozen all with the sole purpose of further extortion. Even local press has got into the act and paid news is now rampant. Good people who have had the misfortune of not having had their old houses surveyed and regualrized by the authorities have been harassed no end and even to the point of selling their ancestral lands at low cost.
This phenomenon has not been restricted to the coastal belt and crafty rules like reducing FAR in other villages in the guise of reducing construction has reduced the value of these properties by 50% which has led to massive sale of property at huge discounts. These properties have been picked up en masses by people who clamoured for these rules and are now pushing for relaxing the rules. These rules were so biased that even toilets for the public use on the beach were deemed illegal as were high masts and even the seating of tourists or laying of footpaths or goal posts on beach areas are illegal under present law.
Needless to say- none of the large hotels like the Taj , Marriotts etc comply. If this was done by a local- then the local owner is made to appear in person before Authorities. Again- needless to say- none of the owners of the large hotels are asked to appear in Person. Same goes for the so called drug violations. Major hotels where the big drug addicts stay seem to be exempted from rules about allowing their places to be used to consume drugs whereas locally owned places are harassed no end. Even for simple instructions which are handed out by the Police authorities, local owners are asked to appear in person whereas foreign and Indian owned places are allowed to have their managers appear or not appear sometimes.
This has led to huge discontentment along the coast and reflects on local Government which is undoubtedly pro Goan at it’s core. Michael Lobo has been elected and backed by a core group of supporters who were fed up with these attitudes. Today- once again when he has proposed changing rooms on the beach for the use of tourists, there is a clamour from vested interests to shut this down. We, at Goan Times propose that the only way to end this constant cycle of corruption and passing the buck is to make new , Honest and liberal rules wherein we tax (but not stop) all development which aids employment and increases tax revenue.
In the bargain- we need to make sure there are no cartels formed and hence free fair competition is also needed wherein if the big companies can get a certain licence to operate- then even the small businesses should be allowed to avail of the same licence. Rules that favour these large companies now need to treat small businesses in the same way. Only then will Goans feel that they are not being discriminated against in their own homeland and not feel the need to migrate!!