NOT VERY PLEASANT READING FOR EVERYONE by Menino Franco

Goa has been re-colonised not only by the Brits, Russians and the Israelis but also by the bold and the beautiful and the rich and powerful from other parts of the country. By RAJAN NARYAN.

A FEW days ago the sarpanch of Morjim investigated complaints that a Russian national, who had bought property on the border of Morjim and Arambol, had blocked the traditional access to the beach. The security guards of the Russian national who had fenced the traditional access to the beach assaulted the sarpanch. The sarpanch has lodged a police complaint against the security guards who assaulted him. This is not an isolated case. There are large areas of Morjim, particularly in Vithaldas-waddo, which have been totally colonized by the Russians.
Locals are not allowed to enter any of the properties which are fenced off and guarded by armed security guards. Russians, who have bought huge amounts of property in Morjim and other villages in the North Goa coastal belt, have built massive structures within 500 metres of the High Tide Line in flagrant and blatant violation of the CRZ Rules. The Chief Secretary told me on Monday that the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority that is presided over by him intends to crack down on foreigners who have violated the CRZ Rules.
RUSSIAN INVASION
I recall visiting the Olive Ridley shack on the Morjim beach over five years ago. The shack then was owned by a Polish woman. There was already talk that Russians had begun buying large amounts of property in Morjim. On a subsequent visit to Morjim, I saw a shack in the middle of the beach less than ten metres from the High Tide Line which was festooned with Russian flags. I heard stories of all-night rave parties by Russians and saw the debris of the previous night's party on the beach.  But it is not only in Morjim that foreigners have bought large amounts of beachfront property. If Morjim is dominated by Russians, Chapora is dominated by the Israelis. Several parts of the Palolem beach in Canacona have also been colonised by the Israelis. But the largest numbers of foreign citizens who have bought property in Goa are not the Russians or Israelis, but the British. Indeed on the road leading to Calangute from the St. Alex Church there is even a real estate agency which proudly advertises the fact that it is British-owned and only sells property to Brits and other foreign nationals.
BI-LINGUAL MENUS
OVER the Holi week, which coincided with the Holy Week, I happened to spend the weekend at a small rural resort in Carmona close to the Fatrade beach. I had occasion or provocation to have a look at all the shacks betweenFatrade and Mobor. The overwhelming majority of the shacks were full of phirangs. In the shacks on the Cavelossim beach, I saw a wild Holi celebration on with gallons of bhang (opium). The revellers were all Russians. On the tables of many of the shacks, menus were not in English, but Russian. I have seen menus in Hebrew in several beach shacks in Chapora and in Palolem. I have never come across a menu in any Indian language let alone the official language of the state, Konkani in any beach shack anywhere in Goa . Even though a large number of domestic tourists visit Goa .  I very often have occasion to visit many of the starred hotels in Goa located both on the North Goa beach belt and the South Goa beach belt for some function or the other. In the last two or three years, whenever I have visited beach resorts, particularly in the Southern coastal belt, stretching from Majorda to Mobor, I have noticed that the details of the various activities planned for the benefit of foreign tourists - including charter tourists - displayed on the activity boards are increasingly in Russian. Depending on the nationality that the hotel is catering to, the activity boards can be even in German or Hebrew for the benefit of the large number of German and Israeli tourists who visit Goa ..
NIGHT BAZAAR
GOA has been colonized by phirangs and the signs of their colonial domination of Goa are everywhere, particularly on the beach belt. The largest and the most successful night bazaar in Goa is not run by a Goan or even by an Indian, but by a German called Ingo. During the Bazaar you can see Ingo with two armed bodyguards going around collecting the rentals from those who have taken stalls. I do not know if the bodyguards who accompany Ingo have licenses for the weapons that they openly brandish. The majority of the stalls, particularly the food stalls at Ingo's Saturday Nite Bazaar are run by phirangs of various nationalities. A lot of the material sold at the Saturday night bazaar is imported. I do not know whether they have been imported into the country legally and whether any of the foreigners doing roaring business at the Saturday night market have business visas. Tourists - whether white, brown or black - who come on tourist visas are not allowed to work in Goa . Thanks to my better three-quarters' fascination with exotic food I often get dragged, reluctantly, to little known restaurants. Restaurants which are run by phirangs for phirangs. Just recently I visited an Italian restaurant tucked away in the lanes of the village of Anjuna in the garden of an old Goan house which is run by an Italian lady and is patronized entirely by phirangs. I am told it is a favourite of the Italians. Tara and I were the only locals at the restaurant at the time we went there. The oldest and the best known among the restaurants which are owned by phirangs for the benefit of phirangs are the Lila Café and Bean Me Up. The few times I have gone there I have only seen phirangs.
ANTI-LOCAL
THERE are pubs in the North Goa beach belt which are run by Brits for Brits. Even some of the shacks on both the North and South Goa coastal belt are openly hostile not only to locals but even domestic tourists. On the odd occasion when I have approached a beach shack for renting a beach bed and an umbrella, I have been rudely told that they are only for phirangs or that they have been reserved. Many beach shacks treat locals and domestic tourists like untouchables. But it is not only the phirangs including the Russians and the Israelis and the British and the Germans who have colonized Goa . As phirang friends of mine point out, Goa has been invaded in a much bigger fashion by the bold and the beautiful and the rich and the powerful from Delhi and Mumbai and other parts of the country who are steadily pushing up the prices of real estate out of the reach of locals. All the fancy apartments and the villas advertised on the internet and at exclusive Goa property exhibitions held by the Times of India and other organizations have prices often quoted in dollars and pounds. Presumably because the real estate sharks who have taken over Goa know that Goans cannot afford to buy property any longer.
HERITAGE PROPERTY
MANY of the old ancestral homes in Goa have been sold to foreigners and non Goans because their owners cannot afford to maintain them any longer. In many cases of course there are so many claimants to the ancestral house that everybody's property becomes nobody's property and no one is willing to bear the cost of maintaining old houses. So most owners of ancestral property take the easy way out and sell it to outsiders including foreign nationals. But the largest owner of property, particularly old sprawling restored ancestral homes in Goa are not phirangs or the bold and beautiful and the rich and powerful from Mumbai and New Delhi . There are of course the Vijay Mallayas and the Jimmy Gazdars and the Jaipuryas who have bought or built huge mansions on the beach belt. But the property king in terms of the largest amount of real estate owned by a single individual is a Kashmiri who owns Sangolda House. His most recent acquisition is Souto Maior House in Ribandar. Also, half the shops in the five star and seven star hotels have been leased by this Kashmiri who claims to be a major carpet exporter and goes by the name of Mir.
In the last few years, a lot of new real estate has come up in Goa - premium properties which offer goodies like 24-hour power generation backup, a swimming pool, a fitness centre and video telephone for security. Many of the new projects like the one being constructed by the Geras in Caranzalem also promise rooftop gardens. While attempting to do some futile flat hunting - since it is absurd to even look for a flat in Panjim with less than a crore of rupees, I discovered that less than 30% of the flats in all the fancy new buildings are occupied. The flats have either been bought by outsiders or bought purely for speculative offices in the hope or the confidence that real estate prices will go up even further.
PARADISE PIE
EVERYONE wants a piece of the paradise that Goa is perceived to be. The phirangs do not mind the fancy prices in the shacks or the fancy prices of real estate because, in foreign exchange terms and compared to prices of property back home or in any other beach resort in the world, the prices of real estate or of food or drink in Goa is much cheaper. The Mumbaikar does not mind the high prices of property in Goa because even in the distant suburb of
Virar in Mumbai or in Thane, the prices of property range between Rs. 60,000 and Rs. One lakh per square foot against Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 1.5 lakhs per sq m in Goa . So much so, it makes sense for those who have property in up market or even in down market areas in the metros to sell their property and relocate to Goa and live on the difference between the money they got for selling their property in Goa and the money they paid for their property purchased in Goa . For those who are faced with the prospect of paying thousands of rupees for square feet and square centimetres,
Goa is a very attractive proposition whether for a second holiday home or just as an investment. And the fact that Goan hotels have kept hiking their prices to ridiculous levels makes it even more attractive to own a holiday home in Goa.
Goa has been totally colonized. The beaches have been colonized. The premium real estate has been colonized by land sharks from Russia and the UK and Germany and Dubai and of course our own home grown land sharks like the
Rahejas. Goan jobs, particularly jobs in the hospitality industry have been colonized by young people from Nagaland courtesy the Governor and his OSD and for people from Jharkand courtesy the Pilar society and people from Orissa courtesy all those who run security agencies and people from Gorakhpur who dominate the carpentry business in Goa.  A time will come when there will be no more Goans in Goa.

5 comments:

dlp said...

Thank you Menino Franco for sharing this article... Welcome back Mr. Rajan Narayan.. Once upon a time you were a force to reckon with as Herald's Editor. Those were the days. We need you now on Niz Goenkar. I know we are still in infancy, but with guidance and support from experienced people like you, Menino's NIZ GOENKAR will beat all the junks like Herald, Vauraddeancho Ixtt (Ixtt???) etc. etc. Please support our cause. Thank you very much.

dlp said...

Writing really adds a personal touch between writer and the reader. All the good writers (or bad) keep it up. We need every Niz Goenkar to wake up now and fight for our cause. Can we all be Niz Goenkars? I am determined! Are you all??? I am sure you are. Please let us not fight between ourselves. At least I know one guy who is talking from abroad (Dubai) pretending to be in Goa, critisizing Goans. Monkey's will always be monkeys.

aggybaba said...

Nice to see you here Mr.Narayan. Thanks for your research and article. People, tell me I'm wrong: Around 2 decades ago we welcomed the white skin with open arms. Every body ignored the goan customers to do business with the whites. Some even bleached their hair and faces to be like them. They came as hippies and stayed to be our bosses. No use blaming the govt. The land they bought was owned by goans,... there were loopholes in the law, there still are.

Marcel said...

@dlp: Mate let not be afraid of anyone, we have unity and one cause to fight against corruption. Before we were divided by rogues and now we have come together that is our main strength..... Menino Franco good article... its time to make a Tsunami a "Goan Tsunami" and everything will be clean.

dlp said...

Thank you Marcel... It's high time now we create the Niz Goans' Tsunami. Let us not stop at any barriers. Jump over them, cllimb over them but somehow we have to reach our goal. Let these monkeys fight between themselves and kill each other.

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