Article 19 And All That Jazz

By Dr Oscar Rebello
26 March 2010 21:19 IST

Shantaram Naik is a decent, honorable man. Importantly, he is a true blooded, loyal congressman (an endangered species, almost a kin to an Eskimo in Africa ). As Rajya Sabha M.P he has passionately argued a lot of issues affecting Goa and occasionally has got a rap (e ) on his knuckles for some foot in the mouth comments.

Recently, he opened a Pandora's box, when he made a forceful plea on the floor of parliament, that Article 19, Section 5 needs to be debated and applied to Goa.

What does Article 19 Section say? Part III, Article 19 Section 5 of the Constitution of India states:

(d ) Any Indian citizen can freely travel throughout India (e.) Reside or settle in any part of the territory of India.

Interestingly it also states that:

(5 ) Nothing in sub clause (d ) and (e) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes or prevents the state from making any law imposing reasonable restrictions or exercise of any of the rights conferred by said sub clause either in interest of the general public or for protection of interests of any scheduled tribe.

So, Eureka , we have hit the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Our Holy Grail, the key to special status. We can stem the deluge. Our State Government. can seek to enact a law to prevent "outsiders" buying Goa.

However, according to many lawyers I spoke to, they are unanimous that this Act is a near impossibility under the present circumstances. For two reasons:

(i) India, as a Union, already faces a severe threat to almost being torn asunder by a million mutinies everywhere. Mumbai, the Naxal belt; the north east; J & K. So this insular "Keep Indians out of Goa" war cry will never resonate in our temple of democracy (and morally, do we have the right to make this demand when Goans settle and thrive everywhere).

(ii) Goans are by and large a peaceful, accommodating malleable people hardly reputed for any violent insurgencies. And it is only through a barell of a gun, when thrust into the Indian state, that talks of autonomy etc. are actually entertained by the Indian Government.

Hence, Article 19 though a palpably enticing panacea for our ills, will always remain a distant mirage for the foreseeable future.

So, does this mean that Goa allows herself to skid down this disastrous road to perdition. Can our land still be salvaged? Can sanity shine like daylight through this maddening darkness ?

Yes! Yes! A Resounding Yes !

But for this your focus and efforts Mr. Naik must not be at the centre. You need to squarely set your targets on the Goa Assembly, your hideously corrupt Government and the people of Goa.

Unless, we can get our Act together and demonstrate to a man (and woman ) that we are completely committed to stem the rot, the rest of the country will care fiddle sticks for us, and the land mafia will continue to treat us like a bunch of chorus girls and boys, happy with a few dollars thrust into our panties.

My 10 suggestions,  for us to get going.

(1) Along with the top brass in your Government (if they are not busy waltzing with G7) evolve a consensus along with all opposition parties and NGOs and other stakeholders on the way forward. Saving Goa is in everyone's interest. And there are equally committed, passionate leaders who love Goa, who will play ball only if you guys in Government are deadly serious about saving Goa.

(2) You will need to evolve a water tight mechanism to scrutinize and accordingly reject outright all giant land deals that take place in Goa. The State level Committee ( SLC ) can be packed with more honourable men and women with impeccable credentials to monitor these GIGA land transactions. The SLC must have the statutory backing of your Govt. to achieve this objective. No one can buy Goan land if Goan land is not allowed to be sold on a gigantic scale.

(3) Your Government must devise ways to make alternative use of this land, to profit the owner. If every Goan, thinks that the only passport to happiness is to palm off his ancestral property to a seedy land shark for peanuts we are in deep, deep trouble. For e.g.: Why can't we pay an environment tax to a bhatcar who has a huge orchard/ forest/ echo sensitive zone piece of land ? If there is a monetary reward to keep your property in a virgin state , people will buy your argument.

(4) Sincerely engage industry and housing bigwigs ; economists and environmentalists to draft the alternate economic model for Goa. But then for this alternative, sustainable, pollution free economy to flourish, beady eyed ,10 percent extortionist ministers must be kept at a huge distance and one would have to put a lid on the spring-out-of- the box - agitations.

(5) Devise draconian laws to squeeze out speculators in the land mafia, who are presently betting on Goa, as if it were one big dazzling casino. Also devise stringent laws, with provisions for life imprisonment in case of the wretched, illegal mining circus - a current blockbuster, now showing in Goa.

(6) There is a reasonably, sunshine start in investigating and confiscating land purchased by foreigners in gross violation of FEMA and drug cartels pumping in hush (hash) money into land. This process must be furiously expedited and encouraged.

(7) Your local Government must have transparent and completely above board mechanisms to acquire land for public good. It is a dirty open secret how this provision of" eminent public domain" has been abused for private profit.

(8) Illegal squatters and sprawling slums (without which your party may never get more than four seats in Goa) have to be discouraged sternly, completely but compassionately. There are always ways to rehabilitate slum dwellers in Goa itself in high rises with excess land returned back to the environment.

(9) Bring issues of water, food and health security; air quality and effective governance; garbage disposal and sanitation to the forefront as public issues. Address these issues aggressively and perhaps Rahul Gandhi's call to the youth to join politics may make more common sense to them.

(l0)Prohibit the sale of agricultural land to a non farmer. But then your Government must first stop depleting the treasury and filling the fields.

You know Mr. Naik there are two types of Congress persons* (one)- A few good men{ and women) like you who articulate the party ideology and policy sincerely but are never the real jewels in the crown and the other members in your Government who will twist every policy of your party to run away with the jewels of the crown.

So, Article 19 and all that Jazz may make for populist grandstanding, Mr. Naik but you know the truth- you are saddled  with  a local Government which is embedded with the business of politics and the politics of Business.

To salvage Goa, we as a people, must be prepared to make sacrifices and donate our pound of flesh. Presently, we are all gleefully extracting it.

Blogger's Profile

Dr Oscar Rebello

Dr Oscar Rebello is one of the leading social activist of Goa and a practicing doctor. He led the historic peoples’ movement in 2006-07 to get the anti-Goa Regional Plan scrapped and save Goa from total destruction of Goa’s ecology and natural beauty. He is a Goa-based leader of Aam Aadmi Party. He is also a columnist.

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Previous Comments

For all those who wrote..only if we dont sit on the walls and act like bigots and pull each other with petty issues over wall fights and bull fights and personal grudges which is the hall mark of Goan ego.. Take is away and a Goan is one hell of a Guys,,he died only for his selfish ego..and now going on his Fall..I would advise only Dotor alone cannot do anything Goa is gone forever..Dotor I would advise you not to waste your precious time!!

- Mark D Souza, Canada | 15 th June 2010 00:48

 

Doctor,

You are the right choice to lead Goa and the Goan interest. I wish our youth spend more time in reading as to what is happening around in Goa and take a positive stand to stop Goa going to the dogs (non goans) very sooner.

Your 10 point programme is very good and if possible circulate it to the mast population in Goa so you have mast majority to support U.

- John Menezes, Iraq | 17 th May 2010 16:58

 

Dotor,

Your ideas and programmes are very useful for Goans but must come to realistics. I will be with you for implementing this programmes.

And for your kind information Eskimos are not dwelling in Africa but rather in Alaska, Siberia, Canada and in Greenland.

- Nilesh Shetgaonkar, Morjim | 08 th April 2010 11:21

 

WHAT ABOUT GOANS?

Talking about the real estate and land grabs in goa by Land Mafia. Real estate has boomed in Goa making it so difficult for our Goans to buy Land and Start a future for themselves. I find the rates have skyrocketed to such an extend that it has reached parity with international standards. All our builders sell flats to outsiders , Hold exhibitions abroad. Why? What about our Goans? What about Goans' future? Who is looking into this? Why are there no controls? Where is the Govt?

Who is benefitting Some builders have tied up with politicians.

I feel sad to see our Goan youth struggling, no one cares, there is no future for them.

Like Remo put it " I CRY GOA"

Dave

- DAVE, UK | 07 th April 2010 17:39

 

DEAR Dr Oscar,

ITS TIME FOR YOU TO LEAD GOA . WE NEED PEOPLE LIKE YOU . START THE PROCESS OF LEADERSHIP AND WE GOANS WILL FOLLOW YOU. BOTH IN GOA AND INTERNATIONAL FORCES WILL BE WITH YOU IN YOUR LEADERSHIP.

THE PEN IS MIGHTER THAN THE SWORD.

DAVE

- dave, uk | 07 th April 2010 17:22

 

Thanks doctor for your mind-blowing writing. Your 10 point programme is very good and well acceptable to Goans. Now time has come for you to enter into active politics. Your leadership will make lot of difference to Goan people and Goan people are ready for sacrifice to salvage Goa.

- Sanjay p Sawant Dessai, Curchorem goa | 27 th March 2010 07:50

 

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