The ruination of Goa’s once unblemished soul

Goans, as custodians of their beloved Goa, cannot permit their paradise to fall prey to unplanned development
GOODBYE GOA: Goa is forfeiting her serenity and charm to unplanned development.
GOODBYE GOA: Goa is forfeiting her serenity and charm to unplanned development.Photo: Sandeep Desai

Change can sometimes be unattractive. Once enticing all with her simplicity, Goa today is often revisited in memories, like one reminiscing about an old lover, who you longingly hoped would remain the same, but hasn’t.

With his maroon suitcase placed tightly between the bus seats, the middle-aged tourist almost struggled to reach for his wallet. Boarding the bus, headed towards Corlim, he anticipated the last stop of his Goa sojourn, the Karmali Railway Station.

GOODBYE GOA: Goa is forfeiting her serenity and charm to unplanned development.
One of Goa's architectural heritage crumbles in silence

As the passengers in the local bus, packed to the brim, braved the summer heat, and the conductor charged him his fare, I noticed how the tourist seemed unbothered by speedometer stuck on zero.

Yeh toh Mumbai ki traffic jaisa hai, Goa bhi Mumbai jaisa ban raha hai,’ the tourist commented and then let out a soft chuckle.

The conductor, lost in the math, simply smiled and went about squeezing his way through those ‘more than the permitted number’ of passengers standing in the bus aisle.

Maybe it was those loosely-strung words that still remained in the air that kept me wondering how, just after being around for a couple of days, this visitor had robbed Goa of its identity.

But, even as I turned towards the window, I realised the truth in that comment.

Change has always tried to keep up with the pace of time. In time, the once narrow street had puffed up into a four-lane highway; on the fields, where paddy sheaves had once pranced in the afternoon breeze, now stood entire gated residential complexes.

GOODBYE GOA: Goa is forfeiting her serenity and charm to unplanned development.
Goa offers a sensory experience to her travellers

But, apart from the change that comes with time, I realised that Goa has failed to dodge the upheaval that comes with unplanned development. And, that’s ruining her soul.

In Goa’s capital city, the roads caving in and gaping potholes are not just a test for every rider, but an open threat to life itself.

Heritage buildings have been left to endure the pain that comes when something is about the let out its last breath, and even recently revamped structures seem to be crumbling.

GOODBYE GOA: Goa is forfeiting her serenity and charm to unplanned development.
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Goa’s environment and land are threatened by the very custodians meant to protect it.

Her hills are competing with garbage dumping grounds, with the former being stripped and the latter only getting taller. Lawlessness is a trend and justice almost blind-folded.

With stress on the fact that development will bring in employment opportunities and is meant for the well-being of the people of the land, the very visible truth is that Goa is forfeiting her serenity and charm – her essence all along – to haphazard development.

GOODBYE GOA: Goa is forfeiting her serenity and charm to unplanned development.
From quaint Goan village to a tourist hotspot

Sometimes, development can destroy a place’s unique charm and character. And, the way Goa is taking her rushed steps, every corner is soon destined to become just another generic place with serenity being replaced by chaos, just like the sea of vehicles the tourist had found himself surrounded by.

If trusting is like giving your lover the key of your heart, it’s time Goans find that key and keep it to themselves.

As custodians of the land, Goans need to hold themselves accountable for every inaction taken towards ruining Goa, for they can’t afford to lose a paradise like Goa to unplanned development.

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