Unbridled migration may reduce ethnic Goans to minority: Govt

Panaji, June 13: Goa is virtually standing on the brink of "ethnic dilution" as unrestricted migration from other states is threatening to reduce the native population to an "alienated microscopic minority" by 2021, according to an assessment by the state government.

"Unrestricted migration and whole-scale transfer of land is beginning to submerge the unique Goan identity. Though we have been noticing this trend in the last decade or so, it has now assumed menacing proportions. The apprehension is that by 2021 the migrant population will outnumber local Goans".

This apprehension was expressed by an all-party delegation, led by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, which met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi last evening.

Underlining the gradual influx of migrants who are settling down in the coastal state, a hot tourist destination, the memorandum submitted to the prime minister rued that cosmopolitan character of the state has been grossly misunderstood.

The copy of the memorandum was made available to media. The Parrikar-led delegation met Singh and placed before him the demand for special status empowering the local government to enact laws restricting sale of land to non-goans.

"The apprehension is that Goans will become an alienated microscopic minority within their own State," reads the petition that has taken the stock of the migration trend right from the liberation of Goa from Portuguese rulers in 1961.

Only 51 per cent people now speak the official Konkani language whereas the collective proportion of Konkani and Marathi-speaking people is two-third of the total population, which means one third of the population is of migrant settlers, the state policy-makers said quoting the latest Census data.

Goa is the smallest state by area and the fourth Goa is the smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population spread over two districts.

Located in West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its western coast.

"The data confirms that migration is diluting the ethnic character of Goa. In the first decade after liberation, the growth of population was 34.77 per cent. This trend of migration is contributing to population growth even today. The latest growth of population for the last decade is 8.17 per cent," according to the memorandum, which is silent on the states the migrants belonged to.

The delegation is also wary about Goa being branded as the "retirement destination and a holiday home for people from the rest of the country and the world".

"This has led to a huge boom in construction activities in the state in the last ten years or so. This is borne out by the 2011 census data which shows that there are 5,76,582 census houses. Out of this, 1,25,503 census houses are vacant; all probably belonging to migrants who treat this as a second home ... This is 21.8 per cent of the total number of houses," the memorandum added.


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