Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Saturday expressed concern over rampant migration into Goa, saying that migrants would soon outnumber the indigenous population.
Sawant, who was speaking at a bank loan allotment function held in his constituency of Sanquelim, also said that the state was dependent on other states for daily essentials, while also expressing concern that some of the occupations and services were cornered by workmen and artisans from particular states.
“On the contrary day by day, we are shrinking and their (migrant) population is increasing in large numbers. It is time for Goans to wake up. Unless we start a small business from our home or our village, until then it will not be possible. Today, we are dependent on other states for all our needs,” Sawant said.
Sawant also said that while Goa has a resident population of 15 lakh, every year nearly 60 lakh tourists and migrants make a beeline to the state.
“Whether it is UP, Bihar, Bengal, or Karnataka, Maharashtra or any other place. There are 60 lakh tourists and 60 lakh labourers, what is the benefit we are taking out of this (influx). We should think about it. We take zero advantage. On the contrary we end up giving them business,” Sawant said, clarifying that his comments were limited to the floating population of migrants and not those immigrants who have settled in Goa for a long period of time.
Sawant also said that some trades and occupations were monopolised by migrants from particular states.
“…I feel sorry to say that women’s stitching is being done by Bengalis today. Dress stitching, right from churidaars to everything. If you check the market in Mapusa, all dress stitching is being done by Bengalis. The plumber, electrician or any service we require, where do they come from? They come from outside,” Sawant said.
The Friday market at Mapusa in North Goa is one of the most popular in the state for the variety of services and produce on offer.
Sawant also expressed regret that Goa had to bank on Karnataka and Maharashtra for daily essentials like milk and vegetables, urging local farmers to up dairy and vegetable produce.
Until 2014, political parties across the board had been demanding special status to Goa to preserve the state’s unique cultural identity, due to rampant in-migration.
The BJP had initially promised to confer special status to Goa. But after the 2014 general election when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected to power at the Centre, party leaders in Goa said that it was not a feasible demand.