Current Affairs

Special Status clarion call gets louder in Goa Assembly

In a rare show of togetherness, the state legislative assembly passed a resolution seeking special status for Goa. The move is aimed at “regulating ownership and transfer of land” to protect Goa’s identity.

Moving the resolution, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said, “I’m not asking for independent status for Goa.” He explained that the purpose of the resolution was to protect land rights and clarified that it is not to seek “any economic package for the state”.

“My house should remain my house,” Parrikar said, and added that his party will support the resolution whether BJP comes to power at the Center or not. An all party delegation will proceed to Delhi next month to meet with the Union government and present Goa’s case before it. Parrikar said he would fix the date for the meeting soon.

The resolution urging the Central government for a “special status to Goa under Article 371 of the Constitution of India or any other provision for regulating ownership and transfer of land and conservation of land”, was passed with members cutting across party lines expressing concern over the current situation, especially over sale of land and influx of migrants.

MLAs sought the Centre’s support towards protecting Goa’s identity.

This will be our first step and agitation will be a second step, Parrikar said, while seeking special status on the lines of that given to Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand and Mizoram.

He said there should be no fear in the minds of investors as areas reserved for industries will remain for industries.

“We should have right on land transfer,” Parrikar said as the state can’t afford a change in its demographic status, which he said has already been diluted shouldn’t be diluted any further. “Otherwise it will lead to a situation where we will be speaking Hindi in Goa,” Parrikar said.

With a falling birth rate, he said Goa will be like some European countries which have to rely on others for supply of manpower.

Supporting the resolution opposition leader Pratapsingh Rane said the resolution should not be for “political purposes” and that the criteria for special status has to be clear.

In August 2008, a private member’s resolution moved by Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco and Mapusa MLA and current deputy chief minister Francis D’Souza, on the same issue, was passed by the Goa assembly. In July 2009, MP Shantaram Naik had moved a similar resolution in the Rajya Sabha.

Parrikar said there was no progress made on either resolution.Of late there have been many demands by various groups seeking special status for Goa.

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