Goa, the name itself spells magic! Ask 10 people where they want a vacation in and 9 would invariably opt for Goa. But for once this haven of luxury, serenity and endless beaches is drawing attention for all the wrong reasons.

Goa is a single city divided into talukas, and vast landscapes of each of these talukas are now almost sold out. Who might ask so what? But the eye popping answer is that these lands are bought by foreigners from around the world. Contrary to what the State government claims, the State registrar’s office has registered around 21.44 lakh sq. mts. of land in Goa’s Bardez taluka alone. One can well imagine then the story in rest of the talukas!!

The sales revenues generated from the sale of stamp papers have quadrupled from what it was a couple of years back. In the next one year it is estimated that the sales would be six times. Such a phenomenal escalation in sales is further fueling escalation in realty prices. The property prices have gone up to Rs 6000 –Rs 9000 in interior locations while downtown areas are fetching anywhere between Rs 25000 to Rs 30000 per sq. m.

This year, Goa is the most expensive real estate site in India. The question now arises as to why foreigners are buying property all over Goa, undaunted by the distance of the location from the main city?

This question is being raised by environmentalists, NGO’s and also by the NSCS (National Security Council Secretariat). They allege that foreigners are flouting all norms set by RBI for them to enable buying land in India. Foreign buyers can not buy any land unless they get a go-ahead under the FERA/FEMA regulations. But the figures show just the opposite.

Large scale land-grabbing drives by foreigners (especially Russian) are arousing suspicion in the minds of people around them as they are suspected to use Goa as their base for carrying out anti-social activities. Being on the shores, Goa can be a haven for drug traffickers, prostitution rackets and the like.:o

Acting on the report of NSCS and hearing all concerns of the people, the government has now served a notice against all foreigners engaged in illegal routes of getting land that they shall be brought to book. It has also curtailed registration of any such land till verification by the Home Ministry. If any land deal is found to have been actuated outside norms, the land shall cease to be any individual's property and go to the government.

The environmentalists are further pressing all buttons for a need of fresh land reforms and a blueprint for developing available land resources in an attempt to safeguard the natural beauty and serenity of Goa, for which it is known the world over.
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