TNN | Jan 26, 2013, 03.38 AM IST
Saldanha said that she along with GMFSS was pursuing the dream of her late husband and former environment minister Matanhy, who revived the demand for special status to Goa in 2008 under Article 371 of the Constitution of India.
Saldanha said that the growing migrant numbers and mindless sale of properties to outsiders is a cause for worry.
“Unchecked immigration in Goa is leading to ruthless development on hills and other areas where construction is prohibited. We have presented a memorandum to the chief minister to get special status for Goa and we have given him a copy of the memorandum presented to the President of India in 2010 in the matter with an appeal to introduce legislation in the upcoming session of the assembly and our chief minister has agreed. We do not want financial packages, we only want special status to preserve our cultural identity,” Prajal Sakhardande, president of GMFSS said.
He said that due to large-scale immigration, Goans are getting marginalized in their own land and that the main objective of the special status is to keep a check on sale of land to outsiders.
“Goa is a mix of two different cultures and this makes our identity unique, which is dying. We also do not have the carrying capacity if the teeming millions from across the country say they love Goa and keep migrating here,” Sakhardande said.
He said that there also has to be a check on those entering the state as there is in other states with special status like Himachal Pradesh. “We are not against migrants, but Goa already has one of the highest population densities in the country,” John Lobo, secretary of GMFSS, said.
Gurudas Kamat said that there is hope for Goa as recently special status has been awarded to a region spanning Hyderabad and Karnataka covering backward areas like Bidar and Gadag.