'Generate from lobbies, not the common man'

| 22 April 1997 12:09 IST

Goan economists have criticised the local government for promoting tourism and mining by taxing the common man, to confront infrastructural problems created by both these sectors.

While Goan economy is developed since its pre-liberation days on iron ore mining, tourism is becoming the backbone of its developing economy since late '70s, with mining being pushed to the back seat.

Both the sectors however have brought immense pressure on infrastructural set-up in the tiny state, opine local economists, in terms of water and air pollution, road network, sanitation and garbage disposal, power and water supply.

It is for the first time however Chief Minister Pratapsing Rane has introduced an infrastructure tax in this year's budget, mobilising Rs 20 million annually, by levying three per cent tax on multi-dwelling buildings.

"No doubt increasing amount of constructions have created infrastructural problems in major towns. But could it be compared with the pressures brought by tourism and mining industry on the whole state, including the countryside", asks Prabhakar Timble, an eminent economist.

While pointing out at around Rs 80 million to Rs 100 million of resource mobilisation needed to arrest the fiscal deficit every year, Timble opines that levying infrastructure tax on tourism and mining alone could recover the deficit.

Dr J C Almeida, the ex-chief secretary and economist, observes that sectors like irrigation have become rackets with canals being completed while the irrigation projects are still halfway. The Tillari irrigation project, a joint venture of Goa and Maharashtra, is the best example, he adds.

Dr Kashinath Jalmi, the state opposition leader, also flays government policy of spending billions of rupees on irrigation projects while diverting agricultural land for non-agricultural purpose, especially in real estate. "Goa urgently needs a land management plan", he asserts.

Supporting the contention, Manohar Parrikar, the BJP MLA, also points out that hardly 10,000 hectares of land remains to be used for industrial purpose as the remaining one is either declared as reserved forests or being utilised for housing and agriculture.

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