The Goa unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday promised that if the party comes to power at the centre it will amend Article 371 of the constitution to accord special status to the state. Leader of Opposition in the Goa assembly Manohar Parrikar also said that the BJP would take back the land given to SEZ promoters and give it to Goan entrepreneurs to develop it and also crack down on illegal and indiscriminate mining.
Parrikar, in presence of the two party candidates for the North and South Goa seats, Shripad Naik and Narendra Savoikar, respectively, said: "Like the hilly border states, Goa also needs a special status to retain its cultural identity and integrity." "It is a small state. Large scale migrations from other regions could change the demographic identity of Goa in no time," he said and promised that if elected to power, the BJP would amend article 371 of the constitution to accord special status to Goa. "We need immediate restrictions on the sale and conversion of land," Parrikar said.
Parrikar said that the 3.8 million sq mt land "fraudulently" handed over by the Congress-led alliance government to the SEZ promoters had been blocked and the Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) had been "dragging its feet" over claiming the land back. "We will take the land back from the SEZ promoters immediately and ensure that Goan entrepreneurs are given ample opportunity to utilize the state's land resources," he said.
Promising an immediate halt and a probe into illegal mining in the state, Parrikar also alleged that four ministers in the state government had been carrying out illegal mining at the cost of the environment.
"There are 12 to 16 illegal mines in South Goa and eight illegal mines in North Goa, where Congress ministers are running the show. We will put an end to this," Parrikar said.