Sangolda… under the axe?


Sangolda is a scenic village in Bardez, probably equidistant from both state-capital Panjim and the commercial town of Mapusa. For long, like other parts of the ‘Old Conquests’ (the longer-held Portuguese former colonies), many in this village have been migrating far and wide (including globally) to earn a living. But now, with Goa becoming a hot centre for real-estate speculation and second- or third-homes for the affluent, there are pressures on this land too.

Says Goa’s just-out Draft Regional Plan for Goa-2021: “Then there are the ‘second homes’ which are much in demand by people from other parts of India, that are filling up the landscape of Goa. Most of these apartments and houses are left unoccupied for much of the year. This is deeply resented by the local population — and the Task-Force recommends some disincentives that can be considered. As for instance, a higher tax on housing held by non-residents levied by the local panchayat for, say, the first five years.”)

Here’s a rustic shot of the Sangolda-Guirim area taken a few (maybe 3-4) years ago, during a morning walk. It’s still rustic in parts, but the pressures are visible:

Rustic shot... by you.

More on the setting here:

Guirim-Sangolda by you.

Shiksha Niketan, Sangolda by you.

Guirim-Sangolda church by you.

Sangolda village road (Goa, India) by you.

Over the past fortnight, there were signs of rebuilding going on in parts of the village.

“House renovation” is a notorious clause (or, loophole) in the Goa building laws, which allows someone to take over an old home, build a concrete monstrosity in its place, and claim that the home is being “renovated” or redone!

This is from just alongside the CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Retreat, 1983) road:

Sangolda, the builders move in by you.

And here’s another old house which is under the axe. (I used to pass by it almost daily, and read the legend “DFVD D’Souza, 1907”, if I recall right. One can only imagine the work, toil, sweat, tears and heartburn, apart from stories of Goan out-migration, that had gone into building these homes, generations ago):

Sangolda, the builders move in by you.

Incidentally, the fields at Sangolda, not too long ago (maybe a decade back), used to be held up as a show-piece of Goa’s successful agricultural policies. As (younger) journalists, were were shown the “progressive” farmers in the area, and how their work was yielding rich crops. Today, these very places have become spots for the wholesale sale of field-well water … to cope with the tourism, real-estate, industrial and unsustainable hilltop housing booms that Goa is seeing.

Below photo, close to Sangolda, on the Guirim-Saligao end.

Road through the fields... by you.

And another one of scenic fields, a Goa many fear we would lose in the rush to money, money and GDP.

Scenic fields by you.

I often wonder what makes some Goan villages more succesptible than others when it comes to succumbing to the building boom. Is it land-ownership patterns and bhadkarism-munkarism (landlord-tenant) tussles? Is it a corrupt panchayat (village council, waiting to be sold out to the highest bidder)? Is it the mind of the builders and the politicians? (One can’t forget the role of a Parulekar in siting an industrial estate on a hillock of “his” constituency, on very questionable grounds, even while officials and specialists apparently didn’t successfully question such an approach.)

As the above-cited Draft Regional Paln for Goa 2021 says, “There are 20 industrial estates in the State — many of which raise critical issues in regard to siting, infrastructure availability, and the unfortunate mismatch between local skills and jobs available, etc. RP-2021 seeks to rectify the situation by generating appropriate jobs where they are most needed. Firstly, the process of allocation of plots at industrial estates should be extremely transparent and should follow the policies established by the State. The current method leaves much to be desired….”

Just some random thoughts generated by a couple of photos (taken above)….

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One thought on “Sangolda… under the axe?

  1. According to my knowledge the panchayat of Sangolda, among others, has to ok all building permissions. Although Sangolda luckily is still a rather intact village, the first apartment buildings have started to appear. If the panchayat refuses to give permissions, this would not be possible. I don’t think you can build a cement monstrosity and call it renovation, as the renovated building determines the size of the renovation.
    It is true that some of the people in Sangolda sell the water which is disastrous for the residents here. You can see water tankers driving up Porvorim hill all day long. Is this legal? But, if permissions for building on Porvorim hill would be given only if there would be adequate water supply, there would be no demand for water tankers. There are numerous buildings on Porvorim hill not connected to the public water supply, depending on water tankers. I think, the people in power to grant building permissions should feel responsible towards the residents and act accordingly.

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