The western India state of Goa is famous for its stunning beaches. It is also India's third-largest iron ore producer. Mining plays a vital role in contributing to the state's economy. In fact, it is as important to Goa as its tourism industry. But years of unbridled development have led to massive land grabbing by the real estate lobbies and illegal miners. Until the 2000s, Goa's mining industry had been controlled by a few families. After that, the infrastructure boom in China triggered an unprecedented mining in the state. The mining mafia, in collusion with political groups, committed large-scale environmental and legal violations. The environmentalists estimate that the loss to the public exchequer owing to illegal mining amounted to a staggering 4.6 billion euros. The devastation wrought by illegal mining has been documented in a recently released book, "Eat and Dust: Mining and Greed in Goa" by Hartman De Souza. "My book is about a personal anguish at the devastation of the … [Read more...] about Iron ore mining resumes in India’s Goa amid environmental concerns
In recent months, sun, sea and feni, the local brew, have turned into a lethal cocktail in Goa that has seen a spate of sexual attacks on tourists, especially women. The crimes have tarnished Goa's reputation as a beach vacation destination and led to announced crackdowns against drugs and drinking, which are both very prevalent in the state’s tourist resorts. Earlier this week, an unnamed German woman who had alleged that her under-aged daughter had been raped by education minister Atanasio Monserrate’s son Rohit and sexually abused by works department minister Churchill Alemao’s nephew Warren decided to withdraw her complaint, to the surprise of many. In her letter to the police, the German woman said that the whole system had failed her and she was upset by the way authorities were treating her and her daughter as the accused. At the end, she pointed out that she did not want another unnatural death, referring to the case of a British teenager, who was raped and … [Read more...] about Rape Scandal Rocks Goa
The Russian love affair with Goa started as a trickle at the turn of the century. Today Russian tourism turns out to be the fastest growing market for sunny Goa. Goa’s tourist season starts from October and lasts until March. In the current season, more than 65,000 Russians are expected on 800 chartered flights - even from smaller cities like Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk. Hostorical ties Historical ties between the former Soviet Union and India have formed the basis for a strong connection. And with the opening of the Russian markets, more and more Russians are travelling to India, with Goa as their favourite haunt. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev (right) and Indian PM Manmohan Singh (left) A Russian tourist told Deutsche Welle what makes Goa so unique: "From my personal experience I can tell that Goa gives you such a great feeling of freedom which is great for Russians. For 70 years we used to live in a country where freedom was a legend. ...you couldn’t … [Read more...] about The Russian love affair with Goa
Crimes against foreign tourists in the last couple of years have hit Goa’s reputation as a holiday destination hard. Goa, which attracts half a million foreign tourists annually, has seen a string of crimes including rapes, murders and mysterious deaths involving foreign nationals. Over 40 per cent of the visitors are British followed by the Russians and the Isrealis. Reeling under the spate of crimes, the Goa government was forced to look at novel security mechanisms, one of which involves setting up a tourist police force, manned by former servicemen. Media hype However Tony Frank, a hotelier blames the media for playing up the crimes. "Goa’s image is not being tarnished exactly. It is just that the media at times creates all this hype," he complains, "And all these problems are created by the media so that politicians are targeted in all these issues to run them down. That is the end point of all the criticism and the problems that are taking place." Goa is … [Read more...] about Is Goa still a safe place?
Father Bismarque Dias is one of the many people whom it pains to see the beauty of Goa go and wanted to do something about it. In the March assembly elections, he contested as an independent candidate from north Goa's Cumbharjua constituency. "Something had to be done and done urgently," he added. Goa's horizon The poll results were an indicator of the peoples' frustrations and anger; the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to wrest Goa from the Congress with a decisive mandate. "At least now a beginning will be made to save our heritage sites and grand Indo-Portuguese homes. Let's see how this new government fares in checking this uncontrolled commercial expansion being done at our cost," said Frederick D'Souza, a resident of the picturesque Palolem Beach in south Goa, arguably the state's most beautiful beach. But years of unbridled growth that saw large scale violations carried out by the real estate lobby, rapacious property "developers" and illegal miners have taken a toll … [Read more...] about Indian politicians try to save the beauty of Goa