Goa Tries to Prevent Foreigners from Buying Illegal land

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Nov. 7 – Sun, sea and cheap land are attracting many westerners to buy illegal land from organised land mafia's along the golden beaches of Goa. Located just south of Mumbai, foreigners flock to the ideallic beaches of Goa, for a holiday, many later decide to stay on in what was formerly a portuguese colony.

According to Indian law, foreigners are free to buy real estate, but within limits: Any money invested in the country must stay in India, and for the first year, buyers must be in residence more than 182 days and file income tax.

Further, as per prevailing laws, an Indian citizen resident outside India and a person of Indian origin resident outside India is permitted to acquire immovable property in India, other than agricultural land, plantation or farmhouses.

This apart, a foreign company that has a branch office or other place of business in India can also acquire immovable property for purposes incidental to carrying on such activity.

Goans who spoke to Reuters said those rules are routinely flouted and blame the unchecked flood of illegal tourists for an erosion in local culture and rising crimes.

"It has come to the notice of the central government that foreign nationals are buying immovable property illegally in some parts of the country, particularly in Goa, which has raised concerns," a government statement said on Thursday.

The statement advised state governments to be "extra vigilant" against violation of rules regarding sale and purchase of immovable property to foreigners.

Earlier this year, the local Goan government amended a 100-year-old law making it more difficult for foreigners to buy land in the state.

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