Panaji: Known more for his classically minimalist fashion statement, Goa born fashion designer Wendell Rodricks Wednesday talked tough about preserving the identity of the state, whose beaches he said "were not as white and pristine" as before.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a fashion clothesline launch event, Rodricks made an impassioned plea for special status for Goa on the lines of India`s hilly regions like Uttarakhand, which he said would help the state preserve its unique identity.
"Delhi (central government) should give Goa special status, like the rights the hilly regions have where land can only be bought by local residents and there are slabs on development," said Rodricks.
Civil society in Goa has been actively campaigning against swanky mega housing projects, promoted by realtors in rich urban hubs like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, and large-scale illegal mining in Goa`s hinterland.
Rodricks said the white and pristine sands of arguably Goa`s most famous beach, Calangute, were now sullied and red, with over exploitation due to tourism.
"I remember Calangute as a pristine beach until say 1985, when you could walk in quiet, and Baga (an adjoining beach north of Calagute) was a nudist colony. But now it is muddy and red and I do not go to that stretch anymore," Rodricks told IANS.
The designer said that he tried to portray Goa in his designs as much as possible, because he was best suited to understand the vibe of the region where he was born in.
"I am in a best position to understand Goa, just as Rohit Bal understands Kashmir or Sabyasachi Mukherjee does Kolkata," Rodricks said, adding that Goa was just not about its beaches. "There`s quiet villages, like the one I live in (Colvale 20 kms from Panaji), there`s the forests of Goa, the tribals living in them," he said.