Monday, December 31, 2007

Arise, Learn and Struggle: Call from anti-Bauxite mining public meet in Morpirla, Goa

Even as year 2007 is coming to an end protest against bauxite mining are only begining in a serene village of Morpirla in Goa's Quepem Taluka. On 30th December 2007 Morpirla Bachao Samiti organised public meeting to protest against this move of the private enterprise Shakti mines. Various speakers addressed this public protest gathering that was attended by nearly 400 Morpirla villagers.

Around 800 hactares of land is sort be acquired for the mining purpose covering the the villages in the Panchayat jurisdictions of Betul, Fatorpa, Velim, and Morpirla. It is only on Decemeber 09 2007 that the villagers became aware of this when Gawada, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED) team consisting of its President Durgadas Gaonkar and Rama Velip visited Morpirla with notice of public hearing published in local newspapers. Corner meetings, house to house visits, etc are in the progress to mobalize the villagers against the bauxite mining project.

Katu Velip pointed to the irony in the government planning system as Morpirla village was selected for government's watershed management programme and even implimented to re-charge ground water table; and now Bauxite mining will run their village water table towards depletion.

Narayan Velip branded mining in Goa as Cancer that needs to be dealt with seriously and Morpirla village must be prevented from contracting the same.

Chandrakand Kavlekar, Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Quepem constituency disclosed that the bauxite mining company has requested the permission to mine 10 lakh tonnes of Bauxite per year. "This is going to be disaster for the cluster of our villages", he warned. He urged the villagers to organise themselves and fight against the the bauxite mining company. He further disclosed that mining company's lease has expired in 1998 and still it is proceeding with land acquisition process; hoping to get the permission from the Central government in India.

Sebastian Rodrigues, MAND coordinator and volunteer of Nature Environment Society and Transformations (NEST) volunteer explained the critical links between Bauxite mining and global war industry. He pointed out that Bauxite mining is promoted to boost corporates dealing with missile productions which in times of war causes only misery to common people from all over the world where ever wars are fought. Bauxite mining in Morpirla and surrounding villages are getting these villages in the global chain of war industry. He said that protest against bauxite mining in Morpirla is also protest against global war industry. He expressed his support to the Morpirla Bachao Samiti in the ongoing protest.

Advocate John Fernandes declared his support to opposition to mining in Goa and pointed out that 80% of people in Goa's mining belt have suffered because of mining. He alerted the villagers to demand 'call letter' from the police officials in case State tries to arrest the protesting villagers in near future, and not to get scared of the State power and Police intimidation tactics.

Rama Velip from Colamb Bachao Samiti expressed words of support from villagers of Colamb that are battling iron ore mining.

Deepak Karmalkar from GAKUVED called for sustained non-violent movement against bauxite mining in Goa.

Bhiva Katu Velip from Morpirla explained that bauxite mining will ruin the village and said that this planet earth needs to be passed on the future generation intact just as his generation have inherited the same from past generations.

Bhikudas Velip from Bernude village and Member of Balli Panchayat shared his experience of fighting the State power in the case of land aquisition for Garbage dumping purpose. He called upon villagers of Morpilla to 'Arise, Learn and Struggle'.

Sita Velip from Saptakoteshwar Mahila Mandal pointed out that bauxite mining will make grazing of their cattles impossible as the grazing lands will go under the mining leases. She called upon the women of Morpirla to participate in anti-bauxite mining protests.

Damodar Mangueshkar from GAKUVED urged women to come out boldly to fight bauxite mining project in Morpirla and neighboring villages.

Durgadas Gaonkar, GAKUVED president criticized the Communidades for handing over surface rights to mining companies and called upon the villagers to step up their vigilance against activities of communidades in this regards. He expressed his regrets that Communidades that originally belonged to adivasi people called 'Ganvkaris'; have been taken control by handful of attorneys and are involved in negotiating the adivasi lands for mining companies like the one for bauxite mining in Morpirla and another one for magnesium mining in Colamb. He gave example of Colomba Communidade wherein adivasis are thrown out from the Communidade records even as their names are present in Portuguese records of 1882. He called upon the younger generation to get involved in research and trace the historical process as to how elimination of adivasis specially Gawadas, Velips as Gaonkars have been conceptualized and implimented, and then reclaim their collective land rights.

He come down heavily against the conduct of Police in harrasing villagers of Colomba that are standing in defence of their land from mining invasion.

Ramesh Gauns, a teacher from Bicholim involved in mining related protests in Bicholim taluka said Dempo mining have caused dust pollution, risky roads and water depletion in Bicholim Taluka of Goa. He further predicted that if mining activities continued then there is going to be no drinking water in Goa after 10 years; and people of Goa will have to beg for water. He said if the Goa Government wants then it can stop Morpirla bauxite mining project immidiately as it had done so in case of bauxite mining closures in Poiguinim village one year ago. He declared his support to the Morpirla Bachao Samiti in their defence against mining industry.

Ulhas Gaonkar compared while Ratnakar Velip proposed vote of thanks.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Goa Liberation day, Mining and Police threats in Goa

Even while Goa celebrated its Liberation day yesterday with various flags hosting in various parts of Goa, for the villagers of Cavrem in Quepem and Colamb in Sanguem it was different story; they faced police threats for protesting against the open cast mining threats.

Ever since Gawada Kunbi Velip and Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED) organised its Human Rights Day Rally in Quepem town, mining industry is at the receiving end with number of villages gearing to battle mining industry. In Cavrem village in Pirla Panchayat limit villagers stormed three mining sites of different mining companies such as Fomentos, Dinar Tarcar, and brought the entire process of operation to the grinding halt since December 11 2007. In Colamb group of villagers entered Fomentos mining site operated in lease area of Khodidas Hiralal forced the company to stop work on December 19 2007. Police from Quepem Police station came searching the villagers at 11.50 am on December 19 2007. However they were forced to beat hasty retreat away by the angry village women of Colamb.

In Cavrem village, Fomento mining company through its contractor Ashok Naik threatened the villagers led by Kushali Velip with forcibly starting this illegal mining activity with the deployment of 600 Personnel from Goa Police force. According to the reports received late last evening, Fomento mining company was busy coercing the villagers to enter into the agreement to start mining activity again with the promise that it will finance renovation of existing temple in Cavrem village at the cost of Rs.2 Crores, a promise that company had given to the villagers during past three and half years. It is now remains to be seen if this carrot and stick policy of the mining company works on the villagers. If Fomento mining company succeeds in getting 600 police personnel for Goa Police and re-start its illegal mining activity then it would be understood that Fomentos Boss Avadooth Timblo is Goa's de facto Home Minister that posseses such a command to violate human rights of Cavrem adivasi villagers and slit open pristine green mountains of Maina-Cavrem.

Time is going to be the greatest witness as to how things are going to unfold in near future.

In the meanwhile GAKUVED organised Public interactive meeting in Cavrem, Quepem to asses the fruits of Goa Liberation for the adivasis of Goa on December 19 2007. Durgadas Gaonkar, GAKUVED Presedent, highlighted the role of Colamb Communidade is marginalizing and ultimately eliminating Velips from the Communidade records of the village.

Kushali Velip from Cavrem village explained the problems faced by the villagers due to open cast iron mining and how the villagers united to assert thier rights.

Rama Velip from Colamb shared his views about tackling mining industry of Goa and need to creat inter village solidarity to stop official government machinery and mining industry harrasing the villagers.

Ulhas Gaonkar from Morpilla shared about the ongoing struggle of his villagers against proposed Bauxite mining on Quepem-Salcete border covering 300 hactares of fertile land. He aslo shared about struggle against Vijay Mallya's proposal to set beer factory and villagers opposition to the same.

Advocate John Fernanades from Ambaulim explained that most of the people who took money from mining companies and sold thier land have suffered in their lives. He also touched upon the depletion of water table due to mining that is going to cause in the Cavrem village in case mining begins again.

Devidas Gaonkar from Khotigao explained about harrasment meted out to the adivasis inside Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary and registered his protest about the same.

Anand Velip dealt on the great suffering of agriculture caused because of mining in Sanguem Taluka. He also shared his experience in fighting mining company in his village of Valkini in Sanguem taluka.

Motesh Antao of Colamb stressed need for mining truck drivers to engage in protest against mining industry as the drivers job as well as life of their truck is short term while the agriculture that is being destryed by mining industry is a sustainer for generations together.

Sebastian Rodrigues, Cordinator of MAND explained how Portuguese colonial legacy in Goa is being perpetuated through mining industry and congratulated the villagers for opposing mining in their village through various means including by blocking road used by mining trucks.

In the meanwhile Cavrem villgers got the resolution against mining within Pirla Panchayat jurisdiction passed at the Gram Sabha on December 19 2007. Indeed it is noteworthy initiative of the villagers and movement of adivasis in defence of their community rights from the mining industry.

Sebastian Rodrigues with inputs from Ulhas Gaonkar, Rama Velip and Anand Velip

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Colomba Communidade succumbing to mining Land acqusition

Even while people of Colomba are up in arms against annihilation of their village under open cast iron ore and manganese leases, its Communidade seems to be betraying the villagers. At a proceedings of land acquisition in Margaon yesterday 14th December 2007 attorney of Colomba Communidade Venkatesh Prabhudesai argued that Communidade is willing to give its land provided mining company is willing to build temple for the village. This statement from the attorney who all this while was arguing against open cast iron ore mining in Colomba has shocked the Colomba villagers who were present during the hearing of the case.

Going by this irresponsible position taken by the attorney all the proposed mining will have their way once they build religious structures. Nexus of religions and mining companies are well known in Goa. Dempos have sponsored large amounts of funds for a temple at Mulgao - and yet Mulgao is under mining pollution particularly its water bodies, it is also sponsoring annual Hindu festival called Novo Somar in Bicholim - and Bicholim is swallowed by Dempo mining Corporation, Dempos are also sponsoring Pejeachem Fest in Siridao in Tiswadi - yet Siridao land is unscrupulously taken over by Dempos. Dempos are responsible for massive degredation of Environment, water depletion and dust pollution in Bicholim taluka and other parts of Goa. This nexus is proving its existence once again in Colomba village with Communidade attorney playing the traitor to the village.

Communidade of Colomba's lands originally belongs to the adivasi people - Gawdas and Velips. However they were cheated during the Portuguese colonial rule and their land were transferred into the Brahmin's control by destrying their Gaonkary system, converted the same into communidade system to have overall control. Now this land is sought to be handed over to the mining company to be operated by MLA Joaquim Alemao's Raissa Mining Services based in Margao. The adivasis were losers when their lands were transferred to communidades during Portuguese colonial rule, and now they stand to loose every thing even the breathing of clean and safe air, and not to mention of water to drink and cultivate.

Goa's liberation did not reverse this trend, instead it's land continued under the Brahmin's control and there has never been demand for handing over land of communidades back to the adivasis to whom it originally belonged. This is largely because of lack of education and conscientization to this effect. However the situation is fast changing and these questions are gadually being raised. It is only a matter of time before their voice becomes a roar.

Mining of this land is a part of larger plan to mine 1510 hectares of this village land. The village has total of 1929 hectares of land. This is indeed very serious and alarming situation that may lead to major contests.

Land acquisition proceedings are underway to take over 87.8530 Hectares of pristine forest land under the control of Communidade of Colomba. Proceedings are going on before the Special land acquisition officer, Additional Collector Prassanna Acharya in Margao Goa. The land acquisition proceedings began with application to this effect by the Lease Concession holder of T. C. no. 18/1956 M/s Marzook & Cadar Pvt. Ltd. on 19th September 2007. The case number of this dangerous land acquisition for open cast iron ore mining is 1-2007/mining/company/AC1/32. The case is being contested between M/s Marzook & Cadar Pvt. Ltd. versus the two respondents namely, Administrator of Communidade, South Goa and Communidade of Colomba through their attorney.

This mining lease like all other leases in Goa was granted by the earstwhile Portugal colonial government in 1956. Goa attained its so called liberation in 1961 yet the actions of colonial government continues to be valid in 'liberated' Goa

Communidade seems to have no regrets on forgoing its surface rights. It is indeed the cause of Goa's peril that such as Communidade of Colomba and its attorneys are in existence. It is now up to the common people to defend their village from mining company, mining contractor as well as Communidade of Colomba.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mining Officials held hostage, released at Colamb, Sanguem

Two mining officials and eight workers of the Margao based Raissa mining services were held hostages by the Colamb villagers when they went there to inspects land to start mining mining activity on December 11 2007. Mining company officials disclosed that they were sent to the village by Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Goa Joaquim Alemao and presented MLA's visiting card as Managing Director of the Raissa Mining Services.

The episode began at 10.30 am when gathered villagers surrounded mining company officials along with official from Colamb Communidade whom villagers suspect has been in collusion with the mining company to grant land for mining purspose at Borgalli Dongor, Colamb. Communidade official Venkatesh Pradhudessai managed to fled from the scene while company officials were caught by the group of around 40 villagers most of whom were women.

Villagers fear that villagers life is going to become riskier if open cast mining comes up. Colamb village faces threat of getting wiped off from Map of Goa with mining land under mining leases covering 1510 hectares of total village land of 1929 hectares. Besides Joaquim Alemao, Fomentos are operating the mines in the village but also facing tremendous pressure from the village to close down due to severe damage to their agriculture.

The villagers, mostly adivasis took the written undertakings form the mining officials G. Pravavananda and Jayaram that they will not visit again the village on behalf of Raissa mining Services " We today came to visit the mine. Once again we will not come to the same mine. We self and company members will not visit again Borgalli Dongor proposed mine and mine related activities." The workers who were detained by the villagers included Ashok G. Palkar, Ramdas G. Gaonkar, Vijay, Madhu, Nilesh Naik, Prem Singh, Umesh Gaonkar and Kamjakar Gaonkar. Most of them are from nearby Sivsorem village where in Joaquim Alemao operates his open cast iron ore mine causing irreparable damage to environment and acute water shortages and dust pollution to the nearby villagers.

Goa government however is letting theses corporates to rip through the very essence of Goa, its mountains in Sanguem and other takulas by keeping itself busy in the annual filmy shows of international standards; it is now left upto the common people to take assertion of their rights at a new level. Large protest rally on December 10 2007 organised by Gawda, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED) in Quepem town is only the beginning of this assertion.

Company officials and the workers were released at 1.00 pm only after police from Quepem Police Station came to Colamb and asked the villagers to target Colamb Communidade who is acting in collusion with the mining company.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

GAKUVED observes International Human Rights Day in Goa.

Gawada, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED) observed International Human Rights Day on December 10 2007 with a protest march and public meeting in South Goa's Quepem Town. Protest rally also marched to the Quepem police station and submitted the memorandum of demands. Memorandums was also submitted to Quepem deputy collector as well as deputy superintendent of Police, Queem. Later on Public meeting was organised at Quepem Town.

Sebasatian Rodrigues, Coordinator, Mand, explained the importance of International Human Rights Day and need to defend Human rights of adivasi community in Goa particularly in relation to Forest, Real Estate and open cast mining activities.

Dr. Audoot Prabhudesai told as to how the village of Colamb is going to be affected by the mining activites and how water resources will get depleted, dust pollution, accidents on roads, how the school children are going to be affected in near by school.

Arun Madgaonkar spoke about the effects of the mining in Goa and how people are going to suffer. He said that effects of mining remains for three hundred years till it retains its original fertility. He requested people to remain united to fight for ill effects that are going to be caused because of mining.

Pravin Sabnis of Goa Bachao Abhiyan (GBA) spoke about people from Keri and Verna villages that have stopped the SEZ work peacefully. He requested the people present to gather on 14th December at Lohia Maidan, Margao for a rally and meeting against SEZ. Ramesh Gauns gave details about the mining activities that are taking place in Goa and its effects. He said that he is not against the mining but the violations of human rights by the mining companies with the help of local government.

Kushali Gaonkar highlighted how the judiciary is delaying the matters of the citizens for years and frustrating the people; sometimes, withdraw the cases, at bureaucracy level and also government is not taking any measures to expediate matters.

Jitendra Savoikar Explained how he is fighting against the mining company since last one year at Vathadev, Bicholim. He appealed to the people to be united and fight.

Devidas Gaonkar highlighted about the people in Khotigao village as to how they are harassed by the forest officials when adivasis go to forest to collect the fire wood. Forest officials snatches away the Koita - the traditional weapon of people without which they cannot live. He also highlighted about the trenches dug by the forest department blocking roads for the people as well as for cattle.

Rama Velip from Colamb briefed about the agitation in Colamb village and how the common man is affected and going to be affected, water level being depleted, field becoming infertile, and dust pollution of the people staying around.

Durgadas Gaonkar, GAKUVED President, addressing the gathering said that GAKUVED is working for the defence of adivasis and the motive behind observing this day is to protest violation of human rights at every level by the State as well and by mining lobby. He pointed out that in case of Khodidas Hiralal mining, despite of proving from the government records only that the ongoing mining is illegal, Goa government is not taking any action to stop the mining. There are 22 mining activated in Colamb but according to government only one mine is in working condition but the same is illegally functioning as per the list submitted by department of mines and geology. With regard to the land issue, People of Cacra, Nauxi, Bambolim, Odxel and other villages of Tiswadi taluka are facing threats of eviction from the real estate sharks such as Aldeia de Goa, Prestige group of companies, Salgaoncar mining company, Fomentos mining comapny, and several other who have ploughed their capital into the real estate busiiness and desperate for every inch of land. These villages were originally practicing agriculture but after takeover of their land for construction of Goa University they were forced to shift their occupation from agriculture to fishing. And now again they are facing threat of evictictions. He urged the villagers to keep their unity to fight against mining lobby and GAKUVED will always be with them.

Other members who spoke on the occasion were Palmira Dias, Jose Vaz, Adv. John Fernanades, Gajanand Raikar. Vote of thanks was proposes by Mathias Fernades. Pobre Fernandes compared the human rights day rally.

(Report prepared with inputs from Babal Gawade, Ulhas Gaonkar and Anand Velip. Picture by Adv. John Fernandes)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Report of workshop on Land, Mining and Adivasis in Goa held on 24-25 November 2007, at Panjim, Goa.

Organized by MAND, An adivasi-rights resource centre, an initiative of Gawda, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED) in organizational collaboration with Nature Environment Society and Transformations (NEST). Workshop was sponsored by Vikas Adhyayan Kendra (VAK), Mumbai. The draft study report titled ‘Land, Mining and Indigenous People in Goa: An Overview’ by Sebastian Rodrigues was discussed on the first day was financially aided by The Other Media (TOM), New Delhi.

The workshop was attended by 47 people from Goa and beyond. Outstation participants included Prof. Nirmal Selvamony from Department of English, Madras Christian College, Chennai, Ravi Hemadri from the The Other Media, New Delhi, Ajit Muricken from Vikas Adhyayan Kendra, Mumbai, Anthony Xavier from Nagapattnam, Tamilnadu, C.R.Bijoy from Coimbatore, Tamilnadu.

From Goa University, Dr.Bikram Dasgupta, founder of collaborating group Nature Environment Society and Transformations (NEST) participated. Veteran campaigner on tribal rights in Goa Joaquim Fernandes inaugurated the workshop. In his speech he urged GAKUVED to contribute towards pressurizing the government in pressurizing the State in implementing Tribal Sub-plan in Goa. President Durgadas Gaonkar gave inaugural address; the written text of the same was distributed to all the participants. He touched upon the need to write history of tribes in Goa and also explained certain concepts like Bhous, Mand, and Barazan in adivasi administrative system.

The first session chaired by Ajit Muricken included presentation of Status of Adivasis in India (SAIP) Goa draft report by Sebastian Rodrigues. It was translated in Konkni and presented by Soiru Velip, a journalist in Konkni newspaper Sunaprant. The Copy the draft report ‘Land, Mining and Indigenous People in Goa: An Overview’ was circulated to all the participants. The discussion the same report was initiated after the presentations.

In the discussion that followed it was pointed out that though study covers many key aspects, it does not cover issues such as Puran Xeti, encroachment of adivasi land by Forest department, Displacement of tribes due to various mega projects. Pandurang Kukalkar pointed out that though study touches upon capture of adivasi land by Church, it also need to include capture of adivasi lands by Devasthans (Hindu temples), Deepak Karmalkar suggested that study needs to include the land taken over by Industrial Estates in Goa as that too is adivasi lands. Ajit Muricken Suggested to find out the history of changing land ownership, finding out as to who are the adivasis according to Anthropological survey of India. He also suggested a need to construct history of adivasis of Goa.

In the second session chaired by Ravi Hemadri Sebastian Rodrigues presented study on Adivasis and Real Estate encroachments in some villages on the Coast of Zuari River in Tiswadi Taluka. The focus of the study was Nauxi, Bambolim, Cacra, Odxel, Mariel and Aivao villages. The power point presentation was titled ‘Goa for Sale’ and included over 100 slides. Another presentation on ‘evolution of Mand’ was also made in power point format and discussions initiated. Damodar Mangueshkar intervening in the discussion stressed the need to get people into confidence as so far complete picture of land sale and the processes involved are not being disclosed. Ravi Hemadri suggested a need for building alliances to fight and also collaborating with other organizations in this regard.

The third session the day ‘Mining terrorism in Goa’ by Ramesh Gauns was chaired by Prof. Nirmal Selvamony. Ramesh Gauns presented in power point form the broad macro picture of Goa’s mining industry and how it has led to collapse of people’s economy, social fabric tarred, cultural degradation, environmental pollution, illegal mining, drying of water sources and numerous other issues related to mining industry in Goa. Due to exhaustive nature of his 157 slides mining presentation jointly put together by Ramesh Gauns and Sebastian Rodrigues the time was not enough for Ramesh to complete his presentation and it was suggested that separate day long session be organized only for presentation on ‘mining terrorism in Goa’.

The day two’s first session was chaired by Advocate John Fernandes. The presentation by Devidas Gaonkar focused on inclusion of villages in Canacona taluka by forest department under Khotigao wildlife Sanctuary. His paper in Konkni attached with the Map was circulated to the participants. Presentation by Anant Velip explained as to how adivasi village if Mangal in Quepem Taluka is encroached by Chowgule mining company through manipulation of land records. Ulhas Gaonkar, in his presentation dealt with the adivasi right to shifting cultivation known as Kumeri cultivation and how people have been fooled by the State in giving away 2 hectares of land for this purpose. He suggested education and mobilization of people for this purpose.

The day two’s second session was chaired by Anthony Xavier. Damodar Mangueshkar pointed out in his presentation that though highway NH 17 crosses from his village of Palem, it has become hurdle – a source of numerous accidents for the villagers, People are deprived from electricity, post office and water supply. Adv. John Fernanades dealt with land issues in Ambaulim, Quepem. He observed that adivasis – Gawdas that got converted to Christianity were deprived of land rights. Delhi party has entered its name in the village land records. Rama Velip presented on how his adivasi village of Colomba is going under mining, including its fertile lands under cultivation of rice, coconut and sugarcane. Rampant hill cutting takes place because of mining activities. Soiru Sawant spoke about how adivasi lands in Muscaurem village taken over by forest department and handed over to the mining company.

Day two’s third session was chaired by C.R.Bijoy. Prabhakar Paddekar spoke about the turmoil of the Cacra adivasi village due the real estate and mining company seeking to construct dockyard and detailed account of as to how the villagers resisted. His paper was circulated to the participants. Babal Gawade presented a paper ‘My village Savoi-Verem’ focusing on Adivasi habitat and their elimination and enslavement by feudal interests. His paper was circulated for the participants. Deepak Karmalkar presented his paper called ‘Tribal rights’, circulated for the participants. He gave his personal example of standing up to the Polluting industry and use of Right to information Act 2005 (RTI).

C. R. Bijoy in his address explained the country wide adivasi struggles on various fronts since British colonial rule and continues in Independent India. He urged Goa adivasis to continue the legacy adivasi resistance spirit and love for freedom and stand in its defense like the adivasis once led by Birsa Munda.

The last session of the day concluded with plan of action that includes mass awareness campaigns, GIS mappings of tribal hamlets, Observation of Human rights Day on December 10 with rally in Quepem, Village wise meetings of members of Gram Sabhas and declarations of adivasi liberation on Goa Liberation Day December 19 2007, Holding of Public hearing on January 27 2008, and Protest rally in Panjim on January 28 2008.

GAKUVED executive committee member Sriram Gawade proposed vote of thanks to all the participants, collaborators and well wishers for making this workshop a success.

Sebastian Rodrigues
Coordinator, Mand

(Prepared based on notes prepared by Ulhas Gaonkar)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fomento Mining continues ravaging Sanguem Forest

In Goa there is begining of international film Festival as well as begining of hunger strike protests against Special Economic Zones (SEZs). But mining companies continues their ugly devastating trades in the deep interiors veins of Goa Causing unimaginable long term destruction of forests and people's livelihood options.
Sanguem forest continues to be at the receiving end from Fomento mining at Colamb with an hurry to export ore to China amidst tight private security. In a latest move of the company over the past five days the company is involved with daring encroachments of forest area, infact buring the forest alive once again.
This time the company that owns five star hotel Cidade de Goa have dugged huge hole to the ground and after cutting forest trees are dumped inside the hole and covered with mud.

Mining officials are clearly sitting with closed ears and closed eyes pretending they know nothing. Their office phones rings but no one wants to pick up the call to answer as thier stomachs are understandably full of notes from mining companies, after all whoses forest is it any way! Mining has such a power over earth and the life on it.

The pristine forest of Sanguem and in Colamb is soon going to a history to be read by school children of the future.

Mining companies are leaving no stone unturn - including the boundary stones to pursue and obey the rules of the market and capital. Children of the future will read in thier text book 'Once upon a time Goa was green, and minng companies like Timblos, Dempos, Chowgules, Salgaoncars and many others turned it red.'

Hurry up go and have a look at Colamb, Sanguem while still some greenery remain, as it will dissapear within next few months if major rivolt does not come about.

Sky is the limit for the mining greed. The exploitation will continue till last mineral ore is cracked under the soil and sold to the foreign countries like China and Foreign exchange is earned by the Union of India and all the agrarial livihood options will be dissolved under in mining dust.

It is time, indeed oppportune time to further intesnsify movements against mining that are underway in Goa. People in Colamb are fighting, People in Rivona are fighting, People in Usgao are fighting, People in Sarvan are fighting, People in Amona-Naveli are fighting, People in Panchwadi are fighting. At last people all over are awakening. MAND experiences the rythm of Protest.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Police terror in Colamb, Sanguem

According to just received information from Colamb, Sanguem, Goa, today on November 20 2007 Goa Police attached to Quepem Police station have began terrorising the villagers. A group of 8 Policemen came in plain clothes at 6 pm and began threatening the villagers. They were searching Agnelo D'Souza, one of the villagers in forefront of protest against mining threatening to gobble up Colamb village. He had protested overvhelmingly during Novemeber 18 2007 gram Sabha of the Rivona village panchayat and sought resulation seeking to ban further mining activity in Colamb. Villagers led by Milagrine Antao led the confrontation today against the police.

Police are behaving in this manner to further the interest of the mining companies. This is a latest offensive against the Adivasi community of Goa by State Police forces to protect the interests of the private mining companies.

Here is a report filed by John Fernanandes on the proceedings of the Gram Sabha of November 18 2007:

The opposition to mining activity in Colomba and Rivona Village of Sanguem/Quepem is going on stronger and stronger as in the regular gram sabha held today the villagers unanimously passed a resolution opposing any mine on the hillock Bargally under survey No.165,64 and 63 of colomba village, new mine in any part of Rivona village or reviving the work in those mines which are already abandon.

At the time of passing the resolution there was an exchange of words from the group supporting the mining activity and those opposing the mining activity. As the group supporting the mining activity seems to be in minority. Anticipating that the resolution opposing new mining activity will be passed, the group supporting mining activity went out of the hall, that to no before exchanging word and abusing each other which continued outside the hall.
Meantime somebody informed the Quepem police, police immediately rushed to the site. If police would have not reached both group would have clashed with each other.

It may be recalled there was a move to start a new mine on the hillock Bargalle situated at Colomba in which a Cabinet minister from the Digamber Kamat government is also involved. That on the said hillock where the new mine is proposed there is a Chapel dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, a crematorium and a cemetery, surrounding of which there are residential houses and paddy fields . At a distance of around 300 mts there is also a Government high school and a primary school. Recently the villagers held a meeting opposing the mining activity on the Bargally Hillock.

Later addressing the gram sabha the Sarpanch Smt. Mansi Naik assured the villagers that she is with the villagers in opposing the mining activity in the village.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Santa Cruz Panchayat serves notice of demolition to Builders

Today on Novemeber 15, 2007 Santa Cruz Panchayat served notice of demolition to the builders who yesterday had constructed gate on the road connecting Cacra to Nauxi villages in Tiswadi Goa. The local member of Panchayat along with the Cacra Nagrik Vikas Samiti (CNVS) moved into action and pressurised the Santa Cruz Panchayat to act tough with the builders. The builders are given seven days notice under section 66 of Goa Panchayat Raj Act 1993.

Yesterday at around 12 noon group of 20 goons came to the village and errected metal gate on the road passing via Zuari Coast - within 2 meters from the High Tide Line (HTL). The most shameful things of this saga is that the goons hired for this 'job' are all from the surrounding villages and they had taken contract to construct the gate from the builders. Panchayat notice is addressed to one Savio who is believed to be active persons if not the 'owner' of the Cacra commuinty lands. It may be noted that the land at this prime location is targetted by number of builders and Real Estate agents. The case of 'Aldeia de Goa' taking over around 140 acres of land to set up super luxurious residential complexes overlooking the Zuari River and the Murmagao Harbour is covering Bambolim and Nauxi Villages.
The goons, by the way are also threatening the villagers of Nauxim as the houses there are of the Gawada adivasis are causing hinderance to the Comforts of the super rich. People here are offered cash by force and asked to leave thier dwelling places so as to make way for the plans to construct mini harbours inside Zuari so that water sports can make way. Current sources of livelihood in these villages is fishing and that is sort to be put to end by the Luxury tourism policies and instead plans are underway for full scale pomotion of water sports. Nauxi has come under severe pressure after its mountain was 'sold' to builders' firm by the landlord Mhambre. It is actually a bunch of landlords that are first responsible to cunningly transfer land titles into their names and then sell the same to the builders.

The Cacra-Nauxi public road blockade is only the begining of things to come with goon power. This road even several years before it was tarred by the Alcon developers, was and still is a traditional way of the Cacra villagers going to Nauxi, Bambolim and Siridao. The road is also used as fishing Path. The land to the builders - Alcon dvelopers was sold again here by another Bhatcar - landlord Pradeep Talaulikar. His family got these land titles in his families names with usurious intentions during Portuguguese colonial period that ended in 1961. It is landlord-Builders nexus that is involved in conquests of lands of Goa's adivasis in 'Liberated Goa'.

Patience of the Cacra villagers that fought industrialist Timblos in 1997 though village anhilating porject called OSB - Offshore Stockyard and Bearth by Marmagoa Maritime Limited (MML), who fought over water theft from their village well by Timblos 1999, who are continuesly guarding against encroachment of builders, are facing yet another test. However it is not going to be thier last test as struggles of over land are acutely fought over throughout Goa and Cacra simly has best of lands for builders and Real Estate sharks.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Today on 14th November 2007 the birthday of Chacha Nehru had a nasty suprise in store for the People of Cacra, Tiswadi, Goa, India. Goons came and forcefully blocked and errected gate on public road connecting Cacra and Nauxi villages on Zuari River shores. When the Cacra Nagrik Vikas Samiti (CNVS) went in to inquire they were told to contact the local panch who is supposed to know everything about the matter. He however was not traceble today and his mobile was not connectable.

This fresh assault on the Cacra villagers and Goa's tribal popolation - Gawdas comes at a time when there is increasing protests of the conquests of the Goa's coast by the buiders and Real estate agents for tourism and purposes. The entire coast in the region of Cacra, Nauxi, Bambolim, Siridao, Odxel, Mariel, Aivao and Dona Paula is under pressure due to this ruthless onslaught wherein State is actively siding with the builders.
There was drinking water well here that was burried by the builders. The pain and agony caused to the villagers here is unimaginable.

Looking at the way the things are proceedings it is not very difficult to guess the near future of Goa: On Coast due to Real Estate and in the Hinterlands due to open cast iron ore lobby, there is going to be the situation of mass homelessness with repurcursions of its own.

Few months earlier same bulders tried to errect the gate but the angry villagers had brought down the contruction of Gate on Public Road. Cacra villagers use this space for their fishing activity. But the landlords - Talaulikars who got this land registered in thier name with usurios intensions during earstwhile Portuguese Colonial regime that ranged from 1510 upto 1961 are involved in selling the same to builders over the past few years - a familiar pattern that is visible across the State of Goa. They are known as 'Bhatcars', landlords who are the in the forefront of Sale of Goa for corporates.

Cacra villagers were forced into fishing after they were occupationally displaced from agriculture when Goa University was set up in thier lands. Now looks like they are also compelled to do away with their fishing occupation. What is suprising is that it is all happening in the knowledge and blessings of the powers that be in Goa. The entire coast is under assault from the rich and famous - the film stars, Sports Stars, Underworld and what not. The need of the hour is to evolve fitting reply to the Corporate invasion.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Goa may be flooded. In some parts, a few families might have been thrown off guard with the gushing rains.

But not the massive ecological destruction taking place at Bambolim Beach.

Past few weeks have witnessed cutting down of large number of trees including five thousand coconut trees.

Modus operandi is simple: cut the trees and load it straight it on the trucks and carry it far off. To block the public view of this rape, a five meters tall tarpaulin is used to fence of the land.

Private security personnel constantly clash with the local villagers including violent confrontations.

The party is the same one that promises Paradise and heaven in nearby Nauxi village to filthy rich from the rest of India, and locals are subjected to goonda pressure every time they speak out.

Goons are brought in hundreds, some times. Even the former central minister's names are linked to this.

In Bambolim, nexus between power centres of the Goa State and beyond is clear. Police team visits the site twice a day to supervise the ecological disasters. Drinking well is threatened, beautiful pond is buried, plain lands are dug for underground, hills are mercilessly cut down. State administrative machinery, legislature, politicians, police, judiciary, have all been actively siding with the brutal rape of nature and its people's life and livelihood.

The questions arise as to what is going be the fate of Goa's nature and its people?

In the face of failure of the State to defend who is going to stand in defence?

These questions bothers us a lot.

Tell us what you feel and think about this.



We are creating this blog mainly to publish pictures of our volunteer work with with Nature, Environment, Society and Transformation (NEST), as well as with MAND - an adivasi-rights resource centre.

MAND is an initiative of the Gawda, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED), in Goa.

One of our volunteers, Sebastian Rodrigues, has a text blog. Check it out at:

Do let us know what you think of our work.

The MAND Team.