21October2017

Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

The selling of Goa

Goa under the hammer

The Chief Secretary using the term ‘Russian mafia’ has raised eyebrows because you simply can’t say that without even a shred of evidence especially of a nation that has unflinchingly stood by India always.  Foreigners, buying property should not be the issue here; after all there is nothing Indians have not bought or benefited from in the rest of the world; the problem is really inwards. 

Like, Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg strongman Narayan Rane’s (politician, minister) buying up a loss-making hotel and naming it after his wife Neelam and subsequent huge expansion in a crowded part of crammed Calangute.  He virtually spills out on to the narrow road.  Like, India’s biggest arms dealer, the Vienna-based Choudhary (his only rival is Nanda) buying up of land in Arambol and Calangute.

Like the fact Delhites are selling at huge profits the properties they bought earlier, was confirmed to me by a potential Bangalore buyer who last month camped in Panjim for over two weeks and by a senior architect in the business and; the fact that if you respond to many of the daily advertisements the seller speaks only in Hindi.  Like the detail that Hindi is the new spoken language in the corridors of the Panjim Bench of the Bombay High Court because property disputes are no longer a Goan preserve.  Like the Rs 150,00,00,000 offer made to Lounginhos for its Colva hotel and like the Rs 48,00,00,000 reportedly paid for another hotel in the area.  And definitely, like Hotel La Calypso in Baga built atop sand dunes after breaking every Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) regulation.

Foreigners, particularly Western Europeans (definitely not Russians or their ilk) come to participate and not to change Goa’s geography which is why they landscape their properties, hire Goan architects, landscapers, employ locals where they can; are the biggest buyers of antique furniture which in turn helped spawn an entire industry (albeit fake or semi-fake) in Mapusa and Colva and spend their money locally.  Their money hardly ever leaves Goa.  Can you say that of a north Indian or Delhite?

 

No estate, get real

No wonder Goans are incensed.  It’s a year since DLF Ltd bought 18,120 sq mt at Rs 50,000 per sq mt at Patto Plaza, Panjim.  They paid the government-owned Economic Development Corporation Rs 90,00,00,000.  Except, where is the promised mall?  Have you seen any construction activity at the plot?  No, and if a senior officer in the know is to be believed, you are not likely to see anything coming up there either.  DLF just used its prime property to get money to finance its real estate ventures in India’s Metros and to-be-metros where it makes the actual big bucks selling real estate and that was the purpose of its investment here.  It works like this: realtors like DLF buy prime land in Brand Goa, as a result of which banks have no hesitation in lending them big money.

 

Room with a view

Bharat and Swati Bhise, have an 8-bedroom bungalow coming up on a hillside with a view to kill for on the edge of the Arabian Sea at Dona Paula.  The construction began five months ago and the Bihari contractor hired – he was involved in constructing actor Jackie Shroff's bungalow at Nerul across the Mandovi – says the bungalow will be finished in two months.  For the Save Goa tribe, this is yet another example of how those with big bucks and that insincere  and ever suspicious love for Goa – the bungalow is rumoured to cost Rs 50,00,00,000  – the CRZ is just a pesky crushable creepy-crawly put on this earth to bite the posteriors of locals only.  For those who have invested in beachside property to the rear however, it is a reason to gripe because their own room with a view no longer has a view because an intruder with more moolah just appropriated it.

 

They luv gullible Goa too

For the past three months Rajiv Mehta went about building his 4-storied bungalow at Cacra village on the edge of a precipice despite all the bad press he got.  You have to see the NRI’s mansion-by-the-sea to believe it.  There are reportedly eight suites per level, less than a stone’s throw from the sea even if you are semi-crippled.  Neighbours wonder where his guests will park their SUVs because Kingfisher villa in Candolim (the next best comparison built on the brink of the sea) is a virtual drive-in.  Not Rajiv’s.  His cliff-hanger simply has no parking space.  Point is, matters only got to a head when pushed to the wall and the Chief Secretary JP Singh sent in the posse led by the Addl. Collector Swapnil M. Naik and Michael D’Souza of the mythical and therefore toothless CRZ.  Would you believe it, even the troopers were shocked.  At least they made a pretense of it.  Measured, Rajiv Metha’s bungalow is 41 mt from the high tide line.  If you have the inclination and four-wheels, take the kids for a drive there.  As they say, seeing is believing.

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