In the evening of the 26th, the Yatra entered Goa state. The team was welcomed by Shraddhanand Vidhyalay one of the oldest schools in Goa established in 1933. Then the Yatra attended a meeting with Shri. Bhumipurush of the Dhoodh Utpadak Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit (Milk producers cooperative society) at Palole Canacona. Shri Babu Narhari Komarpant , the Chairman of the Society gave us a brief idea about the milk and agricultural farmers in Goa. Milk farmers, he told us, use the by-products in the farm as organic manure. Now realizing the negative effect of chemical fertilizers, farmers prefer to use organic .
There are 40 members in the cooperative. Milk production alone is not profitable. The cost of producing 1 litre milk comes to Rs 55 but the price comes to Rs 25-38 depending upon the fat content. Fodder has to come form outside because grazing lands have disappeared as a result of construction and mining. Most of the land lay vacant with the development of tourism in Goa. There is no agricultural policy. The land ceiling is not implemented in Goa. There are many disputes regarding land holding because of the improper survey done by the government in 1972. All records are based on this survey.
He mentioned that 1 hectare of land is sufficient for a family. Now every farmer is going for cash crops in view of the difficulty in getting workers for agricultural work. Foreigners also buy land in Goa as in benami names. Farmers are not getting any benefit from the government. He thinks the agriculture, veterinary and cooperative departments should be looked after under single ministry. This cooperative even gives dividends to the milk farmers. The Bharatiya Kisan Sangh is trying to revive agriculture in Goa.
In the night, the team had a meeting with Shri Dinesh Wagaleji, Team member of India Against Corruption. They gave us an idea of the social and economic situation of Goa. They mentioned that land ceiling is not implemented in Goa, and the state is still following the Custodian Act. Major points that came up in the discussion were as follows:
- There are many land disputes as per the records of government and actual ownership.
- Common property land goes to the relatives of the committee members
- Land lying with the temples is auctioned for 3 years that too goes to influential persons in the committee.
- Illegal mining is playing havoc in Goa.
- Tribals constitute about 8% of the population
- Even though Gram Sabhas are strong, with no land ceiling, few persons like MLAs and other political leaders own thousands of acres.
- Tourism has become the main source of income in the coastal area and small fishermen have disappeared and no longer engaged in fishing. They turned to tourism (shops, guides, bike operators, wine shops, house rental etc)
- With diminishing cultivation 95% of food grains and vegetables come form outside.
By and large Goa is losing its indigenous people and environment as a result of tourism and fast urbanization. Social problems like alcoholism, drug addiction, mafias, land grabbing are growing at a faster rate destroying Goa . The poor and the environment are left out in the planning of the government. Hence the situation is grave.