Clean Up India, Clean Up Goa – Its Time

Goa is my favourite place in India – why ? Being a resident of Delhi I can make the contrast – far less traffic (except for the time period between say 20th December and 5th January when all of Delhi and Mumbai descends on Goa to have a party), paddy fields (and hopefully there will remain – unlike in Delhi – where farm has acquired a different meaning – one where you can build a residence), palm trees, beautiful beaches ( my favourites being ashvem / mandrem and cavelossim ),

mandrem beach goa Lets Keep Goa A Paradise

relaxed and educated people (with a sussegad lifestyle) , some of the best restaurants (La Plage , Thalassa, Sakana, Sublime, and many others). Compared to Goa , life in Delhi is quite sub-par in my humble opinion.

thalassa goa Lets Keep Goa A Paradise

Thalassa Goa

This is not my conclusion – ask anyone, ask any of the foreign settlers why they decided to settle in Goa and not Delhi. Its the only place I know in India where expats have settled – those without the compulsion of a job that requires them to be in a specific city. Ask my colleagues , at every opportunity I rush to Goa – it is what life should be like. Goa is India’s California or Scotland – probably only prettier – thanks to pristine beaches and the weather.

However, rampant ( and perhaps uncontrolled ) commercialization is starting the ruin of Goa.

The Mafia

My first exposure to this was the armed attack at a club on New Years in Ashvem Beach two years ago. And this was a personal experience – We were waiting on the beach close to the footsteps of Club Fresh – when around twenty “boys” armed with iron rods barged into the club – hit whoever came in the way – damaged property and even fired shots in the air. Of course , nothing came of this – no one was arrested – the perpetrators simply walked away – clearly they had political / police backing and were there to possibly make a point (blackmail / hafta ??). It was kind of sad as the party held the night before was amazing, and we were hoping for more.

Club Fresh Morjim Beach 4 Lets Keep Goa A Paradise

Club Fresh Goa

Shady Real Estate Deals

It is well known that properties are being sold with forged documents – everyone knows it – no one does anything about it. Just recently a land-lady in Anjuna (first name ‘Lucy’) was murdered by some brokers as they must have un-successfully tried to force her into selling her property. Apparently Goa real estate is red-hot as supply is constrained and clean title  becoming rare – land is still very cheap in comparison to the metros. Therefore prices are continuing to gallop in spite of a recession in Delhi – and it does seem that sensing this opportunity all the unscrupulous property people from the metros – developers and brokers alike have descended on the town – especially North Goa which is considered to be great for investment.

India Goa Portuguese Villa Lets Keep Goa A Paradise

A Highly Desirable Portuguese Villa

Drugs

If you want to try out new drugs in India – go to Goa – MDMA (which I believe is some variant of ecstacy – is available in plenty) – the talk of nigerians being in the drug business is just non-sense – it’s the local Mafia (local politicians ?). Gone are the innocent drugs , the hippie drugs – weed, hash – These days the profits are in chemical drugs – and they are available in plenty

Illegal Structures on the Beach

You cannot build permanent structures till 500 m from the beach – this is violation of the coastal regulation zone – which I believe is a very strict law. Of course this violation is rampant in Goa – particularly in the north. Most hotels in Morjim in fact are probably illegal (and you can make out the recent construction) – clearly in collusion with local government for sure.

blue waves club ashvem beach1 Lets Keep Goa A Paradise

Blue Waves Night Club – Morjim Beach

The Garbage Problem

This post ; however, is not about the underbelly of Goa (because if you are not a business owner or into real-estate or a drug dealer – you do not quite care), but something that affects its pristine beauty and its  environment directly. I bring this up in the context of Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat campaign. Goa incidentally is a BJP state and the word on the street is that its administration is excellent with an IIT-ian CM, having done a good job. A visit to any government office will confirm this. Unfortunately administration in Goa is a joint effort of the Panchayat and the State government and this intersection gives rise to many inefficiencies, creates many a lacunae in administration that is exploited by vested interests.

cow trashy anjuna Lets Keep Goa A Paradise

roadside garbage Lets Keep Goa A Paradise

And frankly maybe this problem is not just restricted to Goa – remember the Satyamev Jayate episodes – garbage is big business – repeat garbage is big illegal business with “cash/illegal” profits for all involved – from government to private contractors. Thereby forming a coterie which wants to maintain status quo and not have any progress in the processing of garbage – quoting a line from the videos – “people are sleeping – what do they care about their garbage – lets make money!” – as an estimate (if I heard correctly) 90,000 crores are spent by the city of Mumbai to clear garbage into dumping grounds (thereby removing the problem from sight but nothing more) – why would the local politicians and the mafia give up control of this ?

The problem is that Goa is an extremely pretty place and garbage creates an extreme contrast. So while programs like Satyamev Jayate covered the garbage problem in Mumbai,  Goa is a small state with localized politicking probably not having much effect on the national level. But the garbage problem is probably worse and much more visible.

Garbage Fires In Assagao

A bike ride on the Garbage dumps in Assagao Hills

Assagao Dumping grounds

The problem is not restricted to Assagao (a village in North Goa), it is rampant – garbage is being dumped wherever convenient including the Oceans destroying the environment and ecology with government just indulging in finger-pointing.

A broom will not help here – what is needed is a plan – a sustainable process of collecting and processing of garbage done in an environmentally friendly and economically viable way – else we will continue to have these garbage dumps and the ruin will continue.

Let us hope that the Swachh Bharat campaign does not simply become a photo-opportunity – but that it becomes a concerted effort to put an efficient and transparent system of garbage processing in place in our cities and towns.

Amir Khan highlighted a big point – Garbage can be big business – and we need to move the processing of garbage into the hands of these industries that can make a profit from its processing and away from the nexus of local-government and mafia that just burns tax payer money and dumps garbage where it cant be seen. We need to create city-wide, state-wide, and nation-wide policies for this to happen.

 Please tweet to @LParsekarBJP  And To @manoharparrikar if you feel strongly about this

Also See:

Attack On Club Fresh
 5 Star Pollution Brings Two Villages Together
Goa: Learn from other warriors against waste
Image Source: Blue Waves Beach Goa, Anjuna Garbage, Thalassa Goa, Club Fresh Goa, Goa Portuguese Villa

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