Konkani speakers in Goa decreasing, says Parrikar

Panaji, May 29 (IANS) The number of people speaking Konkani, Goa’s official language, is decreasing, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said Wednesday, while greeting the fellow Goans on the eve of the statehood day.

Parrikar has also underlined the need to protect the state’s unique identity and prevent atrocities on women, the state department for information and publicity said in a release.

“The number of people speaking Konkani, the prime official language of Goa, has decreased by two to three per cent,” Parrikar said, while he was criticised by the Konkani lovers, who say the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government’s decision to fund primary education in English could sound the death-knell to the indigenous language.

Parrikar said that as Goa completes 26 years as a state in the Indian union, it had “progressed well in various sectors, be it in the area of construction of roads, bridges and other areas… “

Parrikar also expressed concern over “incidents of atrocities on women and highlighted the imperative need to accord a new direction to preserve the traditional Goan culture, maintain its unique identity and Goekarpan (Goanness)”.

An excessive rate of in-migration as well as Goa being marketed as a hub for real estate investment has been a cause for concern as political parties as well as civil society groups have claimed that the state was heading for a major change in its demographic profile sooner than later.

The Goa legislative assembly during the budget session passed a resolution demanding special status for Goa, making the socio-cultural identity one of the main focal points.

Parrikar is expected to lead an all-party delegation to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in June, where the demand for special status will be put across.

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