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A road in Morjim
A road in Morjim
Morjim is located in Goa
Location of Morjim in Goa
Morjim is located in India
Morjim (India)
Coordinates: 15°37′46″N 73°44′09″E / 15.62944°N 73.73583°E / 15.62944; 73.73583Coordinates: 15°37′46″N 73°44′09″E / 15.62944°N 73.73583°E / 15.62944; 73.73583
DistrictNorth Goa
 • Total6,760[1]
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Area code(s)0832

Morjim is a Census Town in Pernem, Goa, India; it is situated on the northern bank of the Chapora River estuary. It is home to a variety of birds and is a nesting site for Olive ridley sea turtles. The village has become known as "Little Russia" because of the concentration of Russian immigrants living there.[2]


As of the 2011 India census,[1] Morjim Census Town has population of 6,760 of which 3,356 are males while 3,404 are females.Population of Children with age of 0-6 is 609 which is 9.01% of total population of Morjim (CT). In Morjim Census Town, Female Sex Ratio is of 1014 against state average of 973. Moreover Child Sex Ratio in Morjim is around 1010 compared to Goa state average of 942. Literacy rate of Morjim city is 89.90% higher than state average of 88.70%. In Morjim, Male literacy is around 94.69% while female literacy rate is 85.18%

Russian immigrants[edit]

Congress Party MP Shantaram Naik has condemned the Russian presence, objecting specifically to rudeness, nudity, and crime including assaults and running businesses in violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.[3] Indian security agencies have become concerned with the Russian mafia involvement in drug trade, prostitution, and land ownership in the formerly quiet beach village.[4] CNN-IBN specifically accused former town and urban planning minister Babush Monserrate of having ties to the Russian mafia.[5] Politicians have also described the Russian presence as "bad for Goa".[6] Current Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar participated in a Gram Sabha at Morjim in the role of the BJP Goa State President accusing the Russians of having all kind of vices. Vishwanath Azgaonkar & Sonu Shetgaonkar local villagers who participated in the Gram Sabha of Morjim employed the terms 'Drug Mafia" "Russian Mafia".[7]

In response to such complaints, Vikram Varma, a Goa-based lawyer in the employ of Russia's Mumbai consulate, said that of the tens of thousands of Russian visitors to and residents in the area, fifteen were implicated in illegal property deals in 2007 and two were arrested for drugs possession in 2008. He also said Russian visitors as a whole contribute roughly ₹4 billion to the local economy each year and form 40% of hotel occupancies.[2] Nearly 75% of chartered flights to Goa come from Russia.[4] Consul General Alexander Novikov said there is no Russian mafia in the State[8] despite the consulate's lawyer saying the contrary.[9]

In April 2013, Goa Chief Minister (CM) Manohar Parrikar, who is also Home Minister in charge of Police, told the legislative assembly in Goa that Russian, German or Israeli mafias were not operating in the state. He was responding to a question raised by Congress legislator Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco. Parrikar said "unobtrusive watch" is maintained on the activities of the foreigners staying in Goa. "If any foreigner is found involved in any crime, legal action as per the law is taken", he said.[10]

The Goa BJP Chief Minister was saying the same thing as what North Goa Police Chief said when Congress Govt was in power before BJP. North Goa's superintendent of police had said "it would be an exaggeration to talk of a Russian mafia in Goa, though there have been Russians who have hidden facts about themselves from both the Goa government and the home country.".[11]

During the three and a half years up to August 2014, the police have registered 182 narcotic cases in the state. The nationalities of those arrested for selling drugs are mostly from Nigeria, followed by Nepalese, Indians and Britishers".[12]

Michael Lobo, Goa’s member of legislative assembly for Calangute, told Russian media that local sentiments are only against those foreigners engaged in illegal business activities in the state. Michael said "We welcome all international tourists including the Russians, whoever is going to boost our economy. There are some Russians who are doing illegal business. When I say illegal businesses, I mean businesses which are meant to be run by the local Goans and the Indians, especially where restaurants are concerned. If they come on a business visa or a work visa, they are welcome to do business in Goa." [13]

Francisco de Braganca, president, Travel & Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) in Sept 14 spoke about the contribution made by Russian Tourists. He said "Russia has over the years provided high number of tourists to Goa and this turf needs to be protected. There is a wrong impression about Russians in Goa on account of few issues which have happened between them and local people. However, we must not forget that Russians are amiable people and on account of their difficulty to speak any other language have a tendency to mix among themselves. We need to respect their sensibilities. Goa has not treated Russians well enough even after it has been the largest provider of charter tourists. Our mind set has to change".[14]

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar does not believe that Russian and Israeli mafias operate in Goa, but according to WikiLeaks, Mumbai police are sure of it. Wikileaks cited a recently declassified US diplomatic cable dispatched by Mumbai Consul General Paul Folmsbee in 2009, which quotes former head of Mumbai Crime Branch Rakesh Maria saying trafficking of foreign women prostitutes to Mumbai is controlled by Israeli and Russian mafia lords operating from Goa. "Maria alleged that most trafficking of foreigners to Mumbai is connected to Russian and Israeli mafia operations in Goa, explaining why Mumbai police had not cracked the trafficking ring(s)," Folmsbee's cable numbered 09MUMBAI305 back home to the US administration said.[15]

Rajan Ghate, a secretary of the state unit of the NCP, has demanded a thorough probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the nexus between the Land Mafia, Politicians and revenue officials, which is already being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).[16]

In August 2012 Eduard Faleiro, former Union Minister, reiterated the Russian mafia threat to Morjim and Goa. He said, "Russians with criminal background are buying properties through benami means". The state health minister Laxmikant Parsekar said at a gram sabha meeting at the Morjim village panchayat that "these Russians have all kinds of vices and the moment the Russian tourists come to one place all other tourists flee from there. Even earlier, we had tourists from other countries but we never had this problem." Parsekar said the quantity of Russian tourists in the state had triggered a virtual cultural invasion in Morjim and surrounding areas and because of their sheer numbers, the Russians were indulging in dadagiri.[17]

At 0:00 on 31 December 2012, a resort called Club Fresh was vandalised by an armed gang consisting of more than 20 men in retaliation over business quarrels. Guests including children were injured and property damage to the resort was incurred.[18][19]


Morjhim Beach in Goa

Morjim Beach is a nesting and hatching habitat of the Olive ridley sea turtle, an endangered species. They are afforded the highest degree of protection under Indian law through their inclusion in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Egg-poaching or in any manner disturbing the turtles or their habitat is an offence punishable under Indian law.[citation needed]

Protection of marine turtles and their habitat has been embraced by the local community through community-based conservation efforts. These efforts were begun between 1995 and 1996 by a number of local villagers after discussions with Goa-based environmental protection groups. Before this time, the eggs were poached by fishermen, but later the fishermen became fiercely protective of marine turtles.[citation needed]

The Goa Forest Department supports the turtle conservation efforts and has set up a Turtle Conservation Interpretation Centre at the Forest Office in Pernem using funds allotted by the Central Government of India. The Forest Department pays a monthly stipend to young, local volunteers involved in marine turtle conservation efforts in Morjim. A few of these volunteers have found jobs with the Forest Department in recognition of their efforts. Some youth of Morjim have campaigned internationally on the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior.[citation needed]

The Tourism Department of the Government of Goa has aided the conservation efforts by restricting temporary seasonal structures (e.g. shacks) to a portion of the beach and requiring them to operate only during daylight hours. Owners of the structures are also legally obliged not to leave beach furniture on the beach after daylight hours and not to do anything that would adversely affect marine turtle conservation.[citation needed]Despite the ban, an Indian fashion show with illumination and music was held well into the night on 10 December 2011, flouting the law and outraging environmentalists and locals.[20]

In 2011 the turtles can hardly be seen because of urbanisation, light pollution and noise pollution. According to a recent study of international researchers Morjim's wildlife is doomed and the village is expected to be the next Calangute.[21]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b Barretto, Lita (8 March 2010), "Russians face backlash in India's Goa", Agence France-Presse, retrieved 22 March 2010
  3. ^ "Naked Russians corrupt minds: Goa Congress MP", Times of India, 28 February 2010, archived from the original on 3 March 2010, retrieved 22 March 2010
  4. ^ a b Datta, Saikat (29 January 2007), "Molotov on Mandovi: The Russian mafia has barged into Goa, running its arms and drug trade freely", Outlook India, retrieved 21 July 2010
  5. ^ "Goa leaders' pals: Russian mafia", IBN Live, 1 June 2007, retrieved 21 July 2010
  6. ^ "Russian tourists bad for Goa: BJP leader", IBN Live, 21 February 2010, retrieved 21 July 2010
  7. ^ "Morjim villagers disgusted with the behaviour of Russian Tourists", GOA 365, 22 February 2010, retrieved 20 January 2015
  8. ^ "Trouble in Paradise", Oheraldo News, 11 January 2013, retrieved 17 January 2013
  9. ^ "Mafia hunting for Russian owner of Goa resort: Lawyer", IANS News, 6 October 2009, retrieved 17 January 2013
  10. ^ "Russia mafia not in Goa", business Standard News, 16 April 2013, retrieved 6 May 2013
  11. ^ "Moscow! No its Morjim", Telegraph India, 9 February 2009, retrieved Aug 6, 2014
  12. ^ "Special Police Cells to track drug trade", Times of India, 14 August 2014, retrieved Aug 14, 2014
  13. ^ "Russian tourists welcome to Goa - Calangute MLA", RIR, 13 February 2014, retrieved Aug 7, 2014
  14. ^ "More Airlines Flying to Goa is positive", The Goan, 27 September 2014, retrieved Oct 1, 2014
  15. ^ "Russian, Israeli mafia exist in Goa, says Wikileaks cable", India Today, 19 April 2013, retrieved 18 May 2013
  16. ^ "CBI should probe Goa's land mafia, politician nexus: NCP", Sify News, 23 September 2011, retrieved 29 November 2011
  17. ^ "Russia's 'no mafia in Goa' claim is false: Eduardo", Times of India, 15 August 2012, retrieved 17 August 2012
  18. ^ "GOONS STRIKE AT MORJIM", Heraldo News, 2 January 2013, retrieved 2 January 2013
  19. ^ AN online, 1 January 2013, retrieved 2013-01-02 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ "Fashionistas party at Morjim despite ban", Times of India, 12 December 2011, retrieved 13 December 2011
  21. ^ "Morjim the next Calangute", Times of India, 21 January 2011, retrieved 29 November 2011

External links[edit]