SWABHIMAN: Calangute constituency, which was once a peaceful village of sustainable living, has now become a Kumbh Mela of drunken tourists desi and not so desi!

By Gary Azavedo

The recently formed Goencho Swabhiman party’s Roshan Matthias, who has a large following in Calangute, is taking on Michael Lobo. Lobo after long innings with the BJP has defected to the Congress party along with his wife Delilah, they have both been given Congress tickets for Calangute and Siolim, respectively. The Lobos have reportedly promised to get all the Bardez seats for the Congress!

GOAN OBSERVER (GO): Why is Roshan Mathias the best candidate for the Calangute constituency? Why should Calangute voters vote for you?
ROSHAN MATHIAS (RM): Basically, Calangute has gone through a lot of turmoil and now it has reached a peak. I have been one of the witnesses to Calangute’s transformation for many years, thinking that something good would come out of it — but instead, we have been reversing. Every one step back we have moved forward ten steps into the ICU (intensive care unit)! And there is no local MLA to handle this situation. What they are trying to do is put bandages and this is not going to help us.
We need to look at it as a total problem and not an individual problem…some people only looking at prostitution! Some people are only looking at former Ports Minister and Calangute BJP MLA Michael Lobo (now in Congress) — these are fragmented views, we need to took at the picture in totality.
We have to look at all aspects including legal options (remember the December 28, 2021 shootout incident)…how much can you fight? Maximum you can do is file an FIR! We have done this in the last month. We went and gave a memorandum to the police station asking them to increase the patrolling and security force. If this had been there the violent incidents would not have happened. If wew had a beach police force a lot of the bad stuff would not have happened. I will be approaching this issue and will bring it to the court’s attention, we have warned the police about such incidents and nothing was done. Perhaps the court could direct them to put things in place for the protection of the people of the constituency of Calangute.

GO: What are the issues that the Calangute constituency faces, which past and present MLAs have failed miserably to resolve and so they continue to plague the constituency?
RM: The issues plaguing the Calangute constituency are to do with the availability of drugs. I wouldn’t say that there is one main issue but all issue are equally bad. We worry about the spreading menace of drugs, prostitution, we have situation with the taxis, the parking, the traffic…these are big situations creating a problem on daily basis.
Today, you may be saying that traffic is nothing, because we can control the traffic, but look at all the cars in the area. Each one has a dent on it! So there are accidents and people are falling down in front of you on their bikes because of the rush, it cannot be controlled. The roads are not proper! There are no traffic signals! If you go to Candolim you will see traffic signals have been put but they are not functional!
Secondly, they have appointed security guards of Tuff Security which again belongs to former local MLA Michael Lobo and his partner, again those guys are earning money at our cost and at the end of it, they are security! They are not traffic police! So the guy stands in one corner and he tells that fellow “go” but he has not stopped me going in front…this causes accidents which can be fatal!

GO: Do you feel that there should be a cap on the rampant construction activity which is going on in the coastal villages of Calangute and Candolim? A ceiling imposed on more pubs, restaurants, hotels and guest houses?
RM: See, at the moment, putting a cap is not the solution, because we have overridden the concept of putting the cap. Right now what is there is over-flown. Putting a cap is not going to help. The only way is to regulate what is there already. And if you ask me, there is no option of putting more restaurants here as everyone already has a restaurant. Everyone is running a guest house and very few have remained because they are old, they cannot manage. Their houses are not guest houses! Even in those situations senior people have given their houses on lease or rent or whatever and converted them into guest houses. Everyone is doing business in full swing so there is no more scope of doing more. The only way now is to regulate the business and to improvise, to limit what is there…maybe sub-leasing should not be done. Of you can’t run the business don’t add to the burden. At the same time the people should not suffer and should be compensated for not being allowed to do their business.

GO: What about improving the present existing infrastructure of power and water supply, internet connectivity, transport, etc, just to name a few?
RM: Water situation has two aspects. One is our wells are all finished because of sewage infiltration into all our springs – this has to be curbed first. It’s an impossible task because how much are you going to control? And how many wells are you going to clean? Now, even these wells that we wanted to clean, it is basically the rain water that went into the rain water harvesting areas and that got into our springs. Today, where are the water harvesting areas? They are all filled with cement! All our fields are concretized! So where is this water going? And how will it reach the spring? It is going directly to the sea! So that can be done on one-to-one basis of people’s wells…that is where we can get that water back! The second aspect is our main water lifeline which is actually the Assanora water treatment plant. Sarcastically, what we say is that… “If you are not getting water (from Assanora), it is better!”

GO: What about the transportation system of overcrowded buses? Especially in view of the fact that Calangute being a popular tourist destination in Goa, there ought to have been a non-stop shuttle service facility operating to the beach from major towns of Goa?
RM: Yes, I agree with you but regarding transportation, I would not wish to reveal my ideas at the moment because I have deliberated at length on this subject with several individuals. There are green vehicles, besides architects and engineers who design good roads. There is an ultimate solution for this but I would not wish to spell it out right now. But what I would say is that the current situation is totally unplanned as they never even thought that these things would follow because what they looked at was — a Delhi guy needs a building, puts a building…that is the end of story! What happens after that was never their concern. Systems have to be renewed regardless of whether they be of electricity or transportation…it has to finally benefit the locals in some way. It should not be that we displace the local. No! Never! It has to be a win-win situation for both!

GO: What about the coastal zone regulation (CRZ) violations in this area and the recent protests against the Goa Coastal Zone Management Plan (GCZMP) that were spearheaded by you?
RM: Yes. According to me, the CRZ regulations were one of the best things that happened to us. If not, this place would have been finished even more than what you can see today. Not just here but any coastal area of the entire India.
Unfortunately, greed has taken over. The ministers have understood how much money they can make in supporting illegal activities and allowed a lot of damage to take place. Now they have gone to the extent of amending the notification so the very purpose of these notifications has been defeated. Now they have also misinterpreted this entire notification.
When people ask me, “Roshan, what do you find good in this? We cannot build!” I say, “You show me one place in the notification which says that you cannot build.” So though it says you cannot build, there are certain things that are allowed…it will be written that these things are prohibited provided it is not a house of a fisherman, so a fisherman actually gets benefit. Now, when I went to the fisherman that day…I showed them the clause in the CRZ Notification which says that the State government has to do planning ahead 50 years for the fisherman’s housing facilities. The fishermen were astonished as their own houses they cannot manage…the government is supposed to provide them with housing facilities, for next 50 years they are supposed to plan which includes disaster management and where this is…between 100-200 metres of the no-development zone (NDZ).
So it does not destroy. It is a very balanced notification only it has been misinterpreted. For example, you approach the local panchayat seeking guidance to build your house within an area of 200-500 metres of the CRZ. But you will be rudely told that you cannot do so as it’s within the CRZ restrictions. Actually, the CRZ Notification allows you to build with certain restrictions of ground plus one storey, maximum nine metres and 33% of FAR (floor area ratio). so it is not that you cannot build, you can build with certain restrictions.
But the local panchayat says that you cannot so what happens is you end up building something illegal and you become their slave for the rest of your life! These things have to opened up to the people and I am believe in that. I have stepped forward as I have seen too much sorrow in our area. Even when I speak, my heart is very heavy. I want to get these people out of it and that is my challenge!

GO: So if you are elected to power in the forthcoming assembly elections of 2022, what will be your vision and manifesto for the Calangute constituency?
RM: My main objective is the freedom of Calangute, to regain its earlier fame, what brought tourism to Goa. One should understand this. It was Calangute where tourism started and it moved on and on from here…tourism for entire Goa commenced here at Calangute! Unfortunately, today it’s the reverse. Calangute is the worst place that you can come to for rest and recreation! Though everyone is trying to run the race of keeping his place better than the other or providing better food, people don’t want to come here!
I feel ashamed to tell people that I am from this area and the reason is the moment I say that I hail from Candolim, people remark, “Candolim! We heard that a lot of rapes are happening over there! Lot of prostitution is going on…” This does hurt me and I cannot hide it because it is in all on the newspapers and media and people are aware what is happening openly on the roads. It cannot be hidden.

GO: What about the present BJP or Congress government?
RM: BJP government is out of the question not because I am a political rival, but I think the BJP is beyond repair…and it is not only we who are opposing it, but their own leaders are leaving the party because they are disgusted with the party’s performance even at the national level. So BJP is beyond repair! The party should be dissolved immediately!


    Home Delivery of Government Services, Home Delivery of Government Ration, Free Best Health Care, Free Water, Free Electricity, Free Education, Free Wi-Fi, Free Pilgrimage, Free Transport For Women, CCTVs Security around whole Delhi, Free Treatment in nearby private hospital who meet with an accident, Award to them who takes the accident victim to the hospital, Old Age Home with all Good Facilities, Free Training Center for unemployed Youth and many more Good Facilities AAP is giving to the people of Delhi.

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