Special Correspondent

PANAJI: Claiming “large scale violations” of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) by Russians in Morjim village of north Goa, Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik has sought prompt action by the State machinery.

After touring the village, which has seen frequent confrontations between Russian tourists and the local villagers in the recent past, Mr. Naik has said that “the provisions of FEMA and Regulations, framed there under, are required to be tightened, so that foreign nationals do not purchase land in Goa illegally while depriving locals of their business and means of livelihood.”

He told The Hindu on Sunday, “The latest Union Budget provides for the appointment of a committee to examine all financial legislation to bring in reforms. He will take up the issue of the need to amend FEMA with the committee.”

Mr. Naik intends to take up the larger issue with the Prime Minister soon, including the need to amend the Constitution, to protect Goan land.

The State Government has sent to the Central authorities for investigation several cases of prima facie breach of FEMA provisions by foreigners in purchasing land in different parts of the State.

At the same time, Mr. Naik advocated restraint in handling the conflicts between locals and foreigners in view of Goa being a tourist State.

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Mr. Naik, who visited Morjim village along with Ramakant Khalap, former Union Law Minister and Goa State Law Commission Chairman, said that if the growing problems are not nipped in the bud then the situation may go out of hand.

During his visit, the MP said that some locals complained to him that Russians on tourist visa are plying motorcycle taxis, operating food joints where licences from panchayats and other authorities stand in the name of locals. He said that in such cases, the foreigner concerned should be deemed to do business in violation of FEMA.

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