Parrikar to meet PM for special status for Goa

Panaji, May 22 (IANS) Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in June to press for special status for Goa and demand a special package for the people affected by the mining ban in the state, it was announced here Wednesday.

“We are hopeful for an appointment with the prime minister in the first week of June. We will formally request him for special status to be accorded to Goa,” Parrikar told reporters after a cabinet meeting here.

The issue of special status has been raised by NGOs and all the major political parties in the state, who have claimed that land prices are escalating due to uncontrolled purchases by real estate lobbies from outside Goa.

With large chunks of land in the small, resource-crunched state being bought by non-Goans and an increasing share of non-ethnic Goans in the state’s population charts, the generally expressed fear is that Goa’s unique identity would be diluted.

Both the Bharatiya Janata Party as well as the Congress are in agreement over the issue of special status to Goa, which would enable it to stop outsiders from purchasing land here and pull down real estate prices, which are putting housing out of the reach of the common man.

“I think some amount of consensus over the issue of special status. Our objective is to ensure that the parliament passes a resolution to that effect,” Parrikar said.

The chief minister said that he would also appeal to Manmohan Singh to release a financial relief package to several thousand mining dependants, who have been left jobless following the ban on the mining industry since October.

“The majority of revenue from the mining industry has been enjoyed by the central government. We only got the royalty from mining. They should also announce a package for the mining workers who have lost their livelihood,” Parrikar said.

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