JOAO BARROS PEREIRA | Good to read how the new coalition government is going beyond the call of duty to lend a helping hand to farmers. As a farmer, I welcome the news and offer a small suggestion which I’m sure a lot of farmers will applaud and support wholeheartedly.
Farmers, and everyone else, know how much of hard work is involved in farming and so some farmers who do not want to put in a hard day of labor are more than willing and eager to part with their land. These people are not farmers! They are landowners who petition the government to convert their land so they can pluck a harvest of money from builders without having to work for it. Some politicians bend backwards to help them in their nefarious plans. They, the so-called farmers and politicians, are responsible for reducing the size of farm land and green Goa. Their behavior resembles a chameleon; they dream of Goa’s green becoming concrete grey although the money is welcome in a rainbow of colors. This is not Goan Identity but contrary to the concept in each and every way. It is the selling of our identity and has to be stopped immediately.
If the government helps farmers to increase their yield through farming then they are helping farmers. If there is no help to increase agricultural production and add profit from farming then they are not helping farmers or farming. What they are doing is harming genuine farmers and it is obvious to everyone except a mentally-challenged person.
Farming land needs to be protected through proper zoning laws as is done in advanced and civilized countries, and if our government genuinely wants to help farmers then the government should encourage organic farming and allow farmers to use a small part of their land for a restaurant. It is an obvious way to promote agro-tourism. Also, farm houses which are the need of the hour.
Nowadays our food is full of chemicals and so this, as they say, is a win-win scenario. Another important reason tourists, especially foreign tourists, visit Goa is the greenery. If they want to see concrete they can always go to Dubai or Singapore to satisfy their eyeballs which has plenty, and not much else.
We Goans are looking forward to a good Regional Plan which is good for Goans. We do not want a plan which is good for outsiders but bad for Goans. We are aware of the history of the Regional Plan and also behavior or is it misbehavior of our politicians and so await cautiously the news. Will we get a beautiful cake with a beautiful icing on top but which is hollow inside?
Agricultural land should remain agricultural land. If a farmer is not interested in farming he should be made to contract his land to someone who is willing to work on it. Mindless policies of land conversion is simply an announcement of Goa for sale to the highest bidder! I’m sure this government will not go down this street as it is a pitfall, a bottomless hole and political suicide, and no politician will do it intentionally unless they have a death wish. The people of Goa are waiting and watching and believe this government will walk the talk as it is their only way of survival. More power to this government. They need to show Goans if their hearts and minds are in the place.
All true-blooded Goans want the Regional Plan to be transparent and participatory and so I appeal to MLA Mauvin Godhino, Panchyat Minister to lead the way by implementing the 73rd and 74 amendments. Anything less will be cosmetic and a gesture. What is needed is substance and not tinkering of any Act or it will appear as a betrayal of a Goa and
Goans. Other states have done so and Goa is waiting for no good reason. We are at a historic moment in our history and I believe Mauvin Godhino has the courage to implement it. He has shown his courage by leaving the Congress and openly criticizing the Party. It has taken courage to do it. I believe he can do it again!