Saturday, May 26, 2007

Native Goans priced out of Goa

CNN IBN reports on Paradise lost in Goa.
Panaji (Goa): Simon Hayward quit his job in New Zealand and flew to Goa for a holiday. Today, he's quite at home in the little villa he bought and now runs as an exclusive hotel.

A beautiful Portuguese villa, a beach nearby and it seems like Simon is living the dream of every tourist who visits Goa and falls in love. But it's also the nightmare of every Goan who finds his land being taken over by outsiders.

Take Dr Gary Cardozo for example. He just got married and wants to start his own household. But looking at the way thing are, he might just have to postpone his plans.

“When you are earning Rs 30,000 and a two-bedroom flat costs you Rs 28,000 I can't see where from you will get an EMI to pay that and manage your house,” says Cardazo.

So what's drawing people from the rest of India and from around the world to invest in Goa? Most says it’s the quality of life.

“Most of the people who are retiring want a home out here. When they retire the pension is not enough to live in the UK,” says a builder Joe Colaso.

Which is why new constructions now dot the Goan landscape and plots are often sold even without being seen. The Goans who feel discriminated against because they are unwilling to pay the newly inflated rates are now complaining of a far more dangerous fall out.

“People of all denominations specially from countries like Russians and Israelites having made little townships of their own where even locals fear to go,” says Managing Director of Alcon (Victor) Constructions Victor Albuquerque.

With their backing to every shady land deal in the state, it's no surprise that all politicians are tiptoeing around the issue. However, voters seem to be mindful of the fact this election.

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