Tuesday, April 29, 2008

56 Colamb villagers served 4 kg heavy Court notices

56 Colamb villagers were served thick notices weighing 4 kilos each restraining them from entering mining lease land of Hiralal Khodidas. Villagers have been involved in blocking of transportation of the iron ore as the operation of this mine is causing various livelihood problems such as threat to the agriculture, drying up of water sources and siltation of waterways, besides colossal threat to Kushavati river.

Mining lease operated by Fomentos however has been using entire state machinery such deputy collector Quepem, Police, South Goa collector Forest departments as well as department of mines and geology to bulldoze villagers opposition.

Civil Judge of senior division at Quepem Sayonara Telles Laad passed the following order in favour of the mining company in this case that is known as Uday H. Gosalia & anr V/s Rama Ladu Velip and anrs on 25th April 2008:

"Perused records filed alongwith the present application for temporary injuction and main suit. Heard Ld. Adv. Shri H. Bhangui who minutely took me to the documents to show that the plaintiffs are carrying on with their business after complying with all the statutory provisions required for the purpose of mining. On perusal of the documents produced, I am satisfied that if ex-parte relief is not granted in the aforesaid circumstances which has led to filing the present application and suit, then the plaintiffs who have shown a primafacie case shall be put to hardships. Therefore, the application in terms of prayer (a) and (b) is granted till further orders. Plaintiffs to comply with Order 39 R 3 CPC. Issue notice to defts r/0 2/5/2008 at 10.00 am."

Mining company's first prayer (a) that has been granted is as follows:

"or a Judgement and Decree of Permanent Injunction restraining the Defendant, their agents, servants, family members, friends, relatives etc or any other person or persons acting or purporting to act on behalf of the Defendants from interfering with the smooth operation of the said mine by plaintiff No. 1 and his family and from creating any problem with the free ingress or egress of the Plaintiffs vehicle and from in any manner interfering with the transportation of ore by Plaintiff No. 2 or interfering with Plaintiff's staff, transport operators and/or other employees and/or servants of the Plaintiffs."

Mining company's second prayer (b) that has been granted is as follows:

"ending the herein and final disposal of the suit, for temporary injunction restraining the Defendants, their agents, servants, family member, friends, relatives etc. or any other person or persons acting or purporting to act on behalf of the Defendants from interfering with the smooth operation of the said mine by plaintiff No. 1 and his family and from creating any problem with the free ingress or egress of the Plaintiff's vehicle and from in any manner interfering with the transportation activities of the transportation activities of the transportation of ore by Plaintiff No. 2 or interfering with Plaintiff's staff, transport operators and/or other employees and/or servants of the Plaintiffs."

So here is the case wherein the mining company has used judiciary to further its interest. Mining company has been granted both the temporary as well as permanent injunction restraining villagers even before the first hearing fixed for May 02 2008. This order reflects open collusion of Judiciary and the mining company. We can only imagine the fate of Goa if mining companies begin using judiciary in this fashion. The trend is indeed disturbing.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Cavrem villagers opposes mine

The villagers of Cavrem-Quepem strongly opposed for the expansion and renewal of lease of Devappan Dongor iron and manganese ore mine of Shri Shaik Salim at a public hearing held in Mallikarjun Temple at Cavrem on Monday April 28 2008 which was presided over by the South Goa Collector Shri G.P.Naik and Goa pollution Control board Assistant Environment Engineer Sanjay Vaze.

All the villagers gathered opposing the renewal and expansion of the mine stated that if the mine is started then their entire village will be destroy as the proposed mine is situated on the top of the hill and their houses are lying on the foot of the hill which are situated barely at a distance of 300 mts. They further stated that their natural water resources which originated from the Devapan Dongor will be affected and their agriculture will be destroy due to siltation.


One John Fernandes of Deao opposing and criticing the Rapid Environmental impact assessment report stated that the report give false, distorted and suppress vital and important information. He stated that the report which states that there are no ST population in the buffore zone stated that 80% of the population in the buffer zone are from ST Community. He further brought to the notice of the presiding officer that there are a protected site like the Rivona pandova Caves and the Ponsamol site which comes within the buffer zone. There are also protected species like peacock, leopards, bison, spoted deer which information has been suppressed from the report.


He further stated the total mining area is private land is false as vast government land mostly thick forest land of survey No.19 which is a home for different animals and birds including the protected species comes under the lease area. So also the government primary school which is in survey No.11/2. He further brought to the notice that there are human settlement within the core zone which information has been suppressed from the REIA report.


Narayan K. Gaonkar opposing the mine stated the manual operation of the mine which was done about 20 years has done extensive damage to their agriculture land which are yet to be compensated by the mining company and if mechanize mining is done there will no peace of land to cultivate.


Deep Laximon Velip stated that mining will affect more to the forest animals like bison who after the destruction of forest due to mining will enter into cultivation in search of food and destroy it.


Rama Velip from neighboring Colamb village stated that due to dust pollution the villagers will suffer many dieses, the erosion will affect the Kushawati river and mountain being the tanks of fresh water it will affect the fresh water table.


Others who opposed the mine includes Shri Ratnaker Velip, Turo B. Velip, Mahadev Velip, Mrs. Abolem Velip, Mrs. Parvati Velip, Mrs. Sitabai Velip, Mrs. Radha Krishna Velip, Mrs. Geetawati Velip, Mr. Ankush Velip, Bubuso Velip, Umakant Velip , Surendra Velip.


John Fernandes

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pissurlem's mineral loot for Rs. 20 lakh!

This morning I got great surprise when I was just glanced the oHERALDo newspaper in Goa. On page 5 I noticed that small paragraph appeared with Pissurlem Panchayat being donated with Rupees 20 lakh. It says that this money will be utilized for the welfare of Society.

My second surprise was that the person who had handed over the cheque to the Sarpanch is none other than the man involved in mining activities. It sounds me as if the village was raped, looted and entirely destroyed in all the sides and now some notes of rupees are being thrown to buy some medicine or first-aids.

I would have been more than happy if all these miners who were and are involved in raping and looting the beautiful village “Pissurlem” and selling it to the international market to disclose all the revenue/profits earned in crores for over the period of time of mining in Pissurlem and let us know weather this 20 lakh rupees as constitute what percentage of the foreign exchange earned.


Albert Rodrigues

26.04.2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fresh Police cases filed against Colamb village defenders

One Atul Makode Manager of Hiralal and Khodidas mine Colomba has on 22/4/2008 filed a false and distorted complaint before the Quepem police against 18 villagers of Colomba villagers.

The complaint has been filed under section 143(punishment for forming an unlawful assembly) , 147( punishment for rioting) , 447(Punishment for criminal trespass) , 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint) , 506(2) (punishment for criminal intimidation) , 425 (Mischief ) , 427( Mischief causing damage to the amount of Fifty rupees) , r/w. 149 of IPC.

The 18 villagers against whom the complaint has been filed includes 1.Premdas Velip, 2.Alcina Dias, 3. Agnelo D’Souza, 4. Caetan Barreto, 5. Egypt D’Souza, 6. Tilu Dias, 7. Vincent Dias, 8. Palmira Dias, 9. Dumena D’Souza,10. Bhagrati Velip, 11. Shanta Velip, 12. Kalawati Velip, 13. Chandrakant Gaonkar, 14. Vithabai Velip, 15. Concy Antao, 16. Kalidas Naik, 17. Surya Gaonkar, 18.Gavnekar

John Fernanades

Objection to the proposed Cavrem Devapan Dongor mine

From,
Shri John Fernandes,
Copelabhat, Deao,
Quepem-Goa.

Date: 25/4/2008

To,
The Chairman,
Goa State Pollution Control Board,
Dempo Tower,
EDC Plaza 1st Floor,
Panaji-Goa.


Sub: Objections to the Rapid Environment Impact Assessment and management Plan Report of Devapan Dongor Iron & Manganese Ore Mine of Shri Shaikh Salaim T.C. No.01/1951.

Sir,

With reference to your notice dated 6/3/2008 and corrigendum dated 7/3/2008 publish in local daily Sunaparant notifying a public hearing and inviting Objection for the renewal of lease to the Devapan Dongor Iron & Manganese Ore Mine of Shri Shaikh Salim T.C. No.01/1951 Village Cavrem of Quepem Taluka, I hereby file my objections to the Rapid Environment Impact Assessment and management Plan Report submitted by the Mine owner on the following ground.

  1. That the Rapid Environment Impact Assessment and management Plan Report submitted by the company is false, distorted, fabricated , suppresses vital and important information, hence the report requires to be rejected and the application for renewal of lease required to be dismissed.
  2. The undersigned state that no mining activity can leads to sustainable development as any activity which does not secure the need of the future generation cannot be termed as sustainable development. Mining Industry / activity does not guarantees the needs of future generation, hence the development done by mining industry cannot be termed as sustainable development as mentioned in the REIA report on page 10.
  3. That mining is not the backbone of Goa’s Economy as mentioned on pg. 2.1 of REIA report , that presently the way the mining is going on, a day will come the mining industry which we falsely claims to be Goa’s backbone will break our backbone. Which will come to reality after about 5 to 10 years. That most of the Mining activities from Goa will end by another 10 to 15 years, along with it, it will destroy our water bodies, forest, agriculture etc.
  4. The Rapid Environment Impact Assessment and management Plan Report submitted by the company gives false and distorted information . On page 5 of the report, it says that the there is no S.T. population in the buffer zone which is totally false , as 80% of the population in the buffer zone is Tribal population. In village Cavrem itself where the mine is propose, as per the survey conducted by the OBC Corporation in 2003, the ST Population in the village is 699 out of the total 777 which forms 90% of the Cavrem village population.
  5. The report of pg.1.2 and on pg.7.2 says that that there is not historical or archeological monuments within the 10 kms of the area which is also false and distorted as the protected/archeological site at Ponsamol Colomba are at a distance of 7 kms from the mine site so also the Rivona Pandova caves are at a distance of 5 kms from the proposed mine.
  6. The report on pg.8.1 mentions that there are no endangered species in the propose mine which is a patent lie as the area where the mine is proposed is a home of protected species like Peacock, leopards, bison etc which names have been purposely omitted from the list of animals/bird mentioned on pg.3.13 of the report.
  7. The report on pg. 4.14 says that the total Mining Lease area is private land which is also a patent lie as vast track of government land also comes within the mining lease area. That survey No.19 of Cavrem village which forms part of the mining lease (as per the report ) and which is having a area of 26,57,775 sq.mts belong to Government of Goa .The entire survey holding is covered with thick forest .
  8. The proposed mine will destroy the natural resources of water of the village. There are four natural springs and a perennial Nala’s which originates from the Devapan Dongor. If the proposed mine is given license to operate than it will destroy these water bodies . It will also destroy the religious place of the tribal which are there on the Devapan Dongor like the Kashpurish Dev, Vezentari Devasthan.
  9. That where the mine is proposed, the entire area is covered under thick forest, there are also number of medicinal plants which are used by the Tribals of that Cavrem village as herbs , the proposed mine will destroy the forest and the medicinal plants from the core zone also from the surrounding area as dust from the proposed mine will spread upto 2 kms as mentioned on pg. 5 of the report.
  10. The proposed mine site area is a mountain having a radiant of 40 mts slop, at the bottom of which there are residential houses of the tribal, below which there are paddy field. The proposed mine which is on the top of the mountain will destroy the entire villager and their agriculture in the years to come as mentioned on pg. 5 of the said report. The mine will destroy the age old economy of the village.
  11. The proposed mine as it is situated on the mountain will destroy the vast track of agricultural land due to wash off/runoff as mentioned on pg.8 of the report. More over the report claims that agricultural area also come within the mining lease area. That sy.No.10/1, 10/2 , 10/3, 10/4 10/5, 14/1, 13/2 ,13/4 are exclusively paddy land.
  12. That as per the survey records there are number of residential house in the proposed mining area (core zone ) report does not say anything about this. On the contrary on pg.4.12 the report says that “ there are no human settlements within the mine lease area hence no resettlement is involved,” which is totally false and distorted. Moreover there is a primary school in survey No.11/2 which survey holding according to the notice issued by GPCB forms part of the leased area.
  13. The proposed mining activity will not be positive impact on consumption behavior of the villagers as mentioned on pg.7.1 of the report but there will negative impact on consumtion of the people due to diseases like Silicosis, asthma diseases as mentioned on pg.4.17 of the report. The consumption of hot drinks will certainly increase in the village due to dust pollution which will have adverse impact on the village.
  14. In view of above the Rapid Environment Impact Assessment and management Plan Report submitted by the Mine owner Shri Shaikh Salim in respect of Devapan Dongor iron and Manganese Ore Mine be rejected and the mine owner be directed to file a fresh report.


Yours Faithfully

sd/-


( John Fernandes )

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cavrem villagers opposes proposed Devapan Dongor Mine

The villagers of Cavrem of Quepem taluka are up in arm to oppose the proposed Devapan Dongor Iron and Manganese ore mine of Shaik Salim. The villagers claim that if permission is given to the said mine than the entire Cavrem village will be wipe out from the map of Goa.

It seems that Shaik Salim owner of Devapan Dongor mine has asked for the renewal of mining lease under T.C.No.01/1951 which covers an area of 83 hactors of Cavrem village of Quepem taluka. That accordingly the Goa Pollution control board has fixed a public hearing on 28th April at 11.00 AM in the Mallikarjun Temple at Cavre to hear/know the impact over environment due to the said mine.

The villagers of Cavrem addressing this correspondent claims that the proposed mining area is situated on the top of the Devapan Dongor which is having a radiant of 40mts. while their houses which are at a distance of around 200 to 300 mts are situated at the bottom of the said hillock, if the mine is permitted to function then our entire village will be destroyed on account of dust pollution and siltation.

The villagers apprehends that their agriculture which is main source of income and which is situated at the foot of the Davapan Dongor is also at danger as the water which is used for irrigation are originates from the said mountain. If the said mine is started than the water resources will be dried up so also our agriculture claim one villager. Moreover the said mine has proposed mining lease over vast track of agricultural land.


The villagers further claims that there are four natural springs out of which water is one spring is diverted into a tank constructed by the PWD to supply it to the entire village. All the four springs originates from the said Devapan Dongor due to the said proposed mine our natural water resources are at stake.

That 80% of the villagers of Cavrem are Tribals who are having their places of worship on the said Devapan Dongor, if the proposed mine the said mine will destroy these places and will ultimately destroy tribal identity claims the villagers further.


One Sandeep Velip claims that the government hesitates to give us few acres of government land which we have encroached and had done cultivation over it in the village , on the other hand the same government does not even hesitate to gives lakhs of government forest land from the village to mine owners. Producing survey documents said Sandeep claims that the proposed mine will be vast track of government land from the village.

The villagers speaking to reporters claims that at any cost they will not allow the mine to function.



John Fernandes

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Truth escapes from the cracks in the wall!

Devki Katu Velip's house in Colamb has been cracked by the use of explosives by Fomentos.
Young Gautami Velip like everybody else in this over 20 member family sleeps under roof held high by cracked mud walls.

This is a box recovered from the Fomento mines after the explosions.



Mining company officials stayed in the Devki's house during the blasting to experience as to how the experiences tremors. Company now denies ever using the explosives.


Yet truth cannot be suppressed, it escaped from Devki's cracked walls to the villagers and to the rest of the world as well.




Devki Katu Velip with her two sons Rajani Velip and Tulshidas Velip posing with the empty boxes of the used explosives.





Truth then got shared with the villagers of Colamb at the meeting on April 18 2008.


Number of People across the State of Goa have visited Colamb to offer Solidarity.


Villagers including women participated in the meeting on April 18 2008. One of the decisions taken at this meeting is to demand for the dismissal of South Goa Collector for his high handed behaviour with Colamb villagers on April 12 2008.



Current state of the movement were fiercely discussed and debated by all the present for the meet. Great French Revolutionary Thinker Rousseau wrote in his autobiography 'Confession': 'Truth escapes from the cracks in the wall'.
Mining has cracked so many walls of so many houses across the State of Goa. Escaped truth have began flowing like a river.
Sebastian Rodrigues








Goa State Pollution Control Board revokes consent to operate

Goa State Pollution Control Board revoked consent to operate Fomento’s Gogoro Ou Gulcan Dongor Mine, located at T.C. No. 6/49 in Colamb village in Sanguem taluka.

In a notice issued to the company on 14th March 2008 Goa’s Pollution Control Board has observed that the mining activity that is going on is in the Forest land identified by Sawant and Karapurkar Committee.

The board took this decision under the powers vested with the board under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.

The mining company Hiralal Kodidas has been directed to close down the operations in private forest areas with immediate effect.

South Goa Collector has been directed to ensure closure of the mines operation in this regard until further orders.

Demand for dismissal of South Goa Collector

Resolution was passed at a public meeting called by GAKUVED in Colamb, Sanguem to demand dismissal of the South Goa Collector Gokuldas Naik for his high handed behavior with Colamb villagers on 12th April 2008 at his office in Margao.

Villagers had visited him on his invitation to discuss contentious Colamb mining issue. The collector in a bid to force the villagers to let the Fomento mining company to transport Iron Ore threatened to deploy Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel to bulldoze villagers’ opposition to the mining activities in their village in T. C. No. 06/1949.

Further collector threatened to transport the Ore till 10.00 pm in the night to teach villagers a lesson.

More dangerously he termed the local Gram Sabha resolution to oppose mining activities in Colamb village as invalid.

Collector defended the venue of the Public hearing of for this mine being in Margao even though laws point out that it should have been done at the venue.

Collector was in fact directed to ensure that this mine is closed down by the Goa Pollution Control Board in its letter revoking Consent to operate on 14th March 2008.

Earlier this collector was responsible to provide Police security cover to Fomentos that resulted in arrests of Colamb villagers and unleashing of Police Violence.

The collector though is a public servant, has failed miserably to uphold dignity of his office and is functioning as private agents of the Fomentos mining company – that is engaged in activities detrimental to the Public interest in Colamb.

Meeting resolved to contact various organizations across Goa to press for the support to demand dismissal of South Goa Collector Gokuldas Naik.

Advalpal villagers force stop Sesa Goa mine

About 50 Advalpal villagers - mostly women - today morning marched to the Sesa Goa mine forcing the mine to close down its operation. The concerned Sesa Goa mine T.C. no. 76/52 was is threatening village water sources. Villagers united to drive away Sesa Goa from their village. In fact the villagers are up in arms against the mining activities in the village and movement against the same is going on since 2005. Besides multinational Sesa Goa - owned by British company Vedanta- Salgaocars (T.C. no. 41/55) and Lithoferro (T.C. No. 89/52) are other two companies that are proving to be pests to the Advalpal villagers.

Around 1,500 strong people of this village are at the receiving end of the mining menace. The companies and the State authorities so far have been able to 'manage' the village protest by use of Carrot and stick policy - Companies have dished out cash to those willing to accept while Police has been used to silence the protests so far. DySp Shamba Sawant who has been recently transferred from Bicholim was the worse of the lot in threatening the Advalpal villagers.

However it is not going to be too long that the situation will go out of control of the mining companies as well as the State authorities in case it refuses to heed to the voices of the People. Saleli and Colamb have already created history in Goa. Advalpal may very well be next to follow.

This is particularly so because Police have registered criminal cases against the villagers on trespass charges. Sesa Goa has been instrumental in getting cases filed against 20 villagers of Advalpal. It is not just the common people that are criminally targeted by Sesa Goa but also village Sarpanch Harischandra Sawal has been targeted - politically. The Sesa Goa was served notice on illegal weigh bridge by the village panchayat; in response company got involved in dislodging village Sarpanch. So here is the case mining companies are not only involved in kingmaker roles for the Goa State Assembly members and Chief Ministers but also involved in dislodging of village Panchayat Sarpanch.

The audacity of British company to file cases against the local villages is so clearly like the case of British East India Company that ultimately captured whole of India. After 61 years of Independence we have another British Company doing the same for the Advalpal villagers. Through this action it is nurturing new breed of freedom fighters against Imperialism. Considering the behaviour of the Sesa Goa it is not difficult to imagine the kind of shape Goa is going to take in future to come about.

Sebastian Riodrigues in discussion with Shamsundar Pundalik Naik

Friday, April 18, 2008

Its Dempos, Chowgules mining mania in Mayem, Bicholim

Mining of Iron Ore and Manganese in Mayem village of North Goa’s Bicholim Taluka have fetched rich rewards for the two mining companies – Dempos and Chowgules. Both began their open cast iron ore mining activities in 1949. After liberation Indian government have earned valuable foreign exchange. Hence – the Indian State have been financially benefited – through this trade. Mining companies have expanded their business into other sectors of economy like tourism, education, paints, beverages, metal works and navigation transport. Goa government since its liberation thorough armed intervention by the Indian forces in 1961 has been politically dominated by the mining lobby. State mechanisms in Goa have completely served as the executioners of the influential mining lobby.
Mining created huge economic gap between the villagers and the mining Companies – with corporate companies benefiting through the process in a major way.

The impact on the village agriculture has been highly disturbing. On the one hand mining silt has buried the cultivable soil underneath leading the fields uncultivable. On the other hand the springs which supplied water to local agriculture and village wells has dried up due to pumping out of water from the mining pits – thus interfering with ground water hydrology.

Mayem has been topographically in dream placement as far as water sources are concerned. Towards the beginning of the village as one enters from the Bicholim town is famous Mayem lake – which is threatened due to mining plunder by Dempo Mining Corporation.) While towards the end of village is Goyganache Tollem (Goinganem lake) – now threatened due to open cast mining by Chowgule mining company. Both these water bodies has served the village water needs for drinking, agriculture, horticulture and fisheries purposes. Mining however has imposed near catastrophic situation on the village with 300 village wells drying up from January to May each year for the past 25 years!

Mayem, village that is known for the rebellious tradition in the history of Goa’s freedom movement revolted against mining activity as early as 1978. However the revolt was crushed by the Free Goa’s State with 40 people being put in prison – unprecedented action which even outsmarts Colonial policies of Portuguese regime. Since then however State fear has prevented any king of opposition to the mining of ore from the village.

There are however reasons due to which the Mayem village has not been able to launch united fight against mining and its destructive consequences. The villagers are in the middle of another battle – the evacuee property.
The evacuee property represents structural continuation of Portuguese colonial policies. Portuguese colonial State had awarded the Mayem village land to one of its well wishers for the period of three generations for the control over the villager lands. Most of the evacuee land is residential, agricultural and Forests. As per the colonial agreement the land was to be returned to the colonial State after the third generation. And this happened in 1929; 32 years before Goa’s liberation in 1961.

The last legal heir then in order to keep the land under private control executed the Will in the name of his adopted son and the colonial State recognized this possession. Not strange considering colonial rule of Portugal! However this structural relationship was continued even by the State under Indian rule of Goa after 1961. This system makes control over the land by the villagers impossible. The villagers are rendered rootless from the land titles.
This rule however is not applied to the two mining companies operating in the village. Both the Dempos as well as Chowgules are relentlessly carrying on the mining activities within the jurisdiction of the evacuee property. The evacuee property therefore represents continued colonial policy for the benefit of the mining companies. The whole political set up of the State is party to this prolonged harassment of the villagers.

Mining and evacuee property – two issues though superficially looks different – they are intimately linked to each other. Both are off springs of Colonial system that needs to be abolished to actually set the process of liberation rolling.
Mayem has rich mountains full of evergreen forests. For generations people have been cultivating various types of crops. However with decimation of vegetation and destruction of mountains the entire life supporting system is under threat.

Sebastian Rodrigues after discussions with Ramesh Gauns and villagers of Mayem.
February 2003

Thursday, April 17, 2008

SOCIO – POLITICAL COMMUNITY RESPONSE TO ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION IN SALELI : CHAOS THEORY

By BIKRAM DAS GUPTA
Department of Chemistry, Goa University, Goa-403206


Saleli is a small village in the taluka of Sattari of north Goa District. It has a population of around two thousand. Its Panchayat is situated in the neighboring small town of Honda being 3 Km. away.

Its belong to the Pariye constituency with nearly thousand voters. It has four waddows (Sub-units) named Deul, Maddhala, Kelmikhalsa & Bodunwaddo.


All the 12 crushers (Locally called Kesar) are located in the Bodunwaddo. The establishment of the 13unit against the vehement and angry admonishments of the suffering villages resulted in the elimination of the son of the land lord.




SENSITIVE DEPENDENCE ON INITIAL CONDITIONS SDIC I :-




Transformation of naturalism into institutionalised religion. This tree locally called Payer Ped is a Keystone species (Ficus experima / Plomerata) It has relation with nearly 2 Thousand life forms. It is called a sacred tree which is revered by the people.





It is likely that indigenous people used to inhabit the village longtime back, very few of them are still there. The indigenous people still come to pay visit to this plant once in a year. Near to this tree stands the Temple(?) of Santeri which also belongs to the indigenous people. The Pujari comes from a neighboring village and the landlord families (3-4) have very little relation with it.




LAND AND ENVIRONMENT :-




Land and environment was common property from times immemorial. The system of land sharing for production and surrounding forest area for hunting gathering was a common practice called Gauncary.







Its mean an indigenous ancient association as a community of villagers and represented by men from the first settlers or inhabitants of Goa inter alia with inherited common contractual responsibility in a given locality. Rules were made to be obeyed and to carry out common duties / obligations in order to promote their own welfare and that constituted its society or Gaunponn.









This was prevalent in almost all parts of Goa and other parts of the country. With the rise of Portuguese colonialism, the rulers could not but retain the system of Gauncary and renamed it Communidade with certain changes.








However, Pedne and Sattri talukas were not covered in communidade system (only three villages in Sattari taluka) have patches of communidade land system. The present codigo das communidades by the Diploma Legislativo is in Portuguese language (1961). The first written codification of the customs and culture of the people of Goa are found in the Foral or character of Affonso Mexia (1526). The prevalence of common ownership of land and land usage is found in the same character. This character also speaks of the treaty of (1510) where it vouches for states obligation to protect the traditional and customary laws (oral promulgation) and defend the Gauncary against any aggression from outside. Only taxes and tributes from such system were to be accepted by the state.









SDIC II :- TRANSFORMATION OF GAUNCARY TO
MOKASOLAND



All the Gauncary Land was transferred into the hands of 12 Rane families in places like Saleli, Thane , Kumarkhand, Odvoi, Pariye, Maulinguem, Kumbharjue, Keri, Tamdisurla, Sanvordem, Khadki Velge & Wadavar.








From the common ownership of land in the Gauncary system it belonged to the Landlord families of the Rane’s. they had migrated from Udaypur of Rajasthan. They had history of revolting against of Portuguese for political and socio economic games. This transformation of the land system along with all traditional customs had brought about bitterness amount the common inhabitants of these villages, Saleli being one of them.

From egalitarian society of the Gauncars, feudal system was imposed from the top where the Gauncars became serfs working in the Mokaso land of the Landlords

SDIC III :- ESTABLISHMENT OF 13TH CRUSHER :-

Already there were 12 crushers in the village which had brought about drastic environmental changes in the village. The people were already facing great deal of difficulties because of the crushers. They requested the son of the landlord not to start the 13th crusher. In spite of repeated requests the project went ahead and the villagers had great tussle with the landlord son and in the process, he had to lose his life.

EFFECT OF CRUSHERS :-


































































ACKNOWLEDGEMENT :-

Nest Pictures, Advocate Jatin Naik,

Ms. Chaya Gawas, Zilla Gauncar & villagers of Saleli,

Activists of Nature, Environment Society & Transformations







ADDITIONAL Reading material available at Preetu Nair's writings also there is an article by her called Saleli ki Rani.
Saleli villagers are looking for support. Please volunteer to contribute to Saleli.















Pissurlem, Mining and Living: Photo Essay

Hanumant Porob, an activist from Pissurlem shares the life of his village with visitors from Muscaurem, Sanguem on what will happen to their village: mountains will be scooped out and turned into ponds like these Pissurlem mines. Muscaurem is being ruined by Timblo mining company. Pic by Philip Neri de Souza (2003).
Once a green mountains but after 50 years of mining for exports it is moon's craters. Chowgules, Sesa Goa, Fomentos, Damodar Mangaljis and Salgaoncars are the chief culprits for destroying village agriculture. Local MLA Pratapsingh Rane have been supervising this for past three decades as Pissurlem is in his Parye Constituency. Pic by Philip Neri de Souza (2003)

This is 95 year old grandmother of Hanumant Porob. In 1950s she worked as a labourer on Pissurlem mines. But after the mechanization of mining industry she has been witness to misery of her villager. According to her not only human being suffer but the plight of animals is worse specially cattle are left with no grazing lands just as Humans are left with no paddy cultivation land. Its silt all over. Pic by Anjoli Bandopadhyay (2003)


This is Deepaji Rane, one of the critics of mining in Pissurlem. He posses before the natural lake that has been once source of water for paddy fields. But subsequently has been silted due to marauding mining industry. Pic by Anjoli Bandopadhyay (2003).



This is an adivasi family in in Dhatwada region of Pissurlem. Mining invasion have been threatening their displacement. Pissurlem village have been displaced twice in past 50 years already. Pic by Anjoli Bandopadhyay (2003)




This is a village member of Panchayat known as Panch sitting with village school children. Children education is completely disrupted due to mining. Government school in Sonxi have been almost under mining dumps. Tuberculosis and lung diseases are common in Pissurlem. Children lead highly vulnerable life in Pissurlem. Pic by Anjoli Bandopadhyay (2003).
Sebastian Rodrigues




T. B. Cunha on Mining trade in Goa

T. B. Cunha one of Goa's most well known freedom fighters wrote this article on mining trade in Goa. He accuses the mining companies of supporting Portuguese Colonial State in his scholarly article published in 1958 in journal called Free Goa in Bombay. 50 years latter in 2008 these mining companies continue to betray the interest of Goa and serve Japan and China. The reading of this article would help us to establish the continuity of struggle even before 1961 liberation.

The main cause of the failure to liberate Goa even ten years after the independence of India is the systematic sabotage, carried by Indian businessmen against all the efforts made by Goans and by others (sic) to achieve the liberation. This is now clear to all those who have studied the Goa question objectively and do not believe in the lame excuses invented to explain the shameful continuation of the occupation by Portugal of territories situated in India. It is neither the lack of unity among Goans nor the lack of co-operation on the part of Indian people to achieve integration of Goa, Daman and Diu into India that is responsible for the indefinite postponement of freeing them from foreign rule. It is the protection given by some Indian politicians in Power to the Indian businessmen for carrying a profitable speculation in Goa with the full connivance of the Portuguese officialdom. That mainly is responsible for the present State of affairs.

The facilities given by the Portuguese government to the Indian businessmen are such that they have made them interested in the continuance of Portuguese rule in Goa and made them wish to postpone as long as possible the liberation of the Portuguese occupied territories. The Indian Politicians who support these Indian merchants do not seem to realize that the profits made by them are gained not only at the cost of economic and financial interests of India but are also detrimental to her national unity, territorial integrity and future security. Narrow-minded and unable to grasp the national interest as they believe that the profits made by Indians compensate the country for the loss it suffers otherwise from Portuguese occupation.

We have repeatedly shown here, giving names and figures, that the help given by Indian capitalists to exploit the Goan mining wealth has served to increase the revenue of the Portuguese administration and to allow it to maintain an army of many thousands of European and African soldiers and officers and a costly political force. The exploitation of the mining industry and the contraband trade which is simultaneously carried on by the same Indian traders is the main source of income to the Portuguese in Goa who themselves have not invested a single rupee in our country. Under the camouflage of a fictitious economic blockade and sanctions, which the have sabotaged, the Indian merchants, together with some foreign speculators, have extended to the Portuguese the help they needed to perpetuate and consolidate their domination in Goa.

In addition to the help given for the extraction of the iron and manganese ore, the Indian Capitalists have also helped the Portuguese to improve the transport of the minerals by railways, roads and rivers, to build a new and big airport and to extend the works of the Marmagao (sic) harbour. We have given here the name of Indian businessmen including Goans who have invested their capital in all these concerns. Some of these persons are known to be well-related with Indians and some foreigners. The capital, the management and even a great part of the labour is Indian and are closely connected with concerns functioning in India.

A further contribution to help the Portuguese to consolidate their position in Goa is now the formation of a ship-building Society with the co-operation of the Indian capitalists who run the mining industry and indulge in its complementary smuggling trade. The capital subscribed to the new society comes from the Government of Portuguese India and other institutions depending on the government which are compelled by the government to lend their funds. But a good amount of their capital is also brought by the Indian and foreign firms working in Goa. The capital invested by Private Indian and foreign concerns is indeed superior to the sum invested by the government.

The following is the list of the Indian and foreign investors who have contributed to the funds of new society and who also permanently co-operate with Portuguese in strengthening foreign hold on Goa. Here are the most important names:

Chowgule and Co. Ltd.
Damodar Mangalji and Co. (India) Ltd.
Gangadhal Agrawal
Hiralal Khodidas
Khantilal & Co. Ltd.
Mineira Nacional Ltd.
Subraya & Co.
Timble Brothers Ltd.
V.M. Salgaonkar & Brothers Ltd.
V.S. Dempe & Co. Ltd.
Joao Hogo Sequira
Madev Sinay Talaulikar
A. Abdulrazak
Sesa Goa Ltd. (Germano-Italian)
W.I.P Railway (British)
Mingoa society (Italian)

The installation of the ship-building works is to be started in Vasco da Gama near Marmagao harbour under the direction of Portuguese, Indian and Britishers. The capital subscribed amounts to nearly 35 lakhs divided in shares of Rs. 100/- each. The report accompanying the project of the Ship-Building Society clearly says that it aims at resisting India’s efforts to unite Goa to India. That has not prevented the proteges of our Congress patriots to fully co-operate with the Portuguese in the anti-Indian endeavor. They may allege that it is “constructive work” (Gandhian terminology) pursued by Indians in Goa with the connivance of pseudo-Gandhians in power in India. As a matter of fact they are plundering and mortgaging Goan wealth for the immediate benefit of Portugal.

While the Indian government is quietly awaiting to settle the problem of Goa by “peaceful negotiations” the Indian moneybags are allowed to peacefully help the Portuguese and enrich themselves at the cost of the Indian and Goan economy, of the suffering Goans and non-Goans and more than anything else at the cost of Indian national Integrity, her good name and her safety. It is in the interest of these moneybags indeed that the settlement of the Portuguese pockets has been postponed indefinitely. They are the people who spread false and distorted news about Goa and mislead and misinform the official circles in India about the real situation of Portuguese territories in India. Only the Indian Government must understand that they are not interested in the liberation of Goa because when it comes, it will deprive them of their easy and tainted profits. One must know also that these double dealers are the real political informers and advisors of the Portuguese on the Goan question.

One must say that these unscrupulous merchants would not have succeeded in their treacherous work of support to the foreign occupants of Goa if they had not received all facilities from Indian authorities to carry on their nefarious activity. Not only they were given in India all normal facilities allowed to honest traders but they were left free to act in contempt of law and resort to criminal corruption to carry on their smuggling activities which are complimentary to the Goan mining industry. In fact, since independence they were treated as a privileged class allowed to prosper at the cost of the most vital interests of the nation. Before the relaxation of the permit system when common people were harassed in every manner when they had to travel to and from Goa, it was precisely these merchants for whom the economic restrictions really meant (sic) who enjoyed all sorts of facilities thanks to powerful friends they had in the official circles. No wonder that the supposed economic sanctions failed miserably and some had to be removed as ineffective. In fact, they are sabotaged in benefit of these unpatriotic citizens and lawbreakers.

While our brave Goan and non-Goan liberators were facing by hundreds and thousands the most fascist repression of the Portuguese Police State, suffering long years of prison, deportations, beatings, tortures and even death, thee Indian adventurist traders were amassing fortunes and prospering at the expense of other people’s sacrifices. And it is precisely these people who are now carrying the whispering campaign against Goans accusing them of being responsible for the failure of liberation because of the lack of unity between their too numerous political parties. As a matter of fact, the disrupting activity among Goans and non-Goans was the work of these very slanderers of the Goan movement who infiltrated bogus nationalists in the ranks of our workers or corrupted others with their tainted money. The whispering campaign is meant to cloak the guilt of those who are really responsible for the continuance of the foreign domination in apportion of the Indian land even after independence. But their treason shall not remain concealed or forgotten.

Cunha, T.B., Portuguese Occupation of Goa supported by Indian Merchants, in Free Goa, 25 July 1958, reproduced in Tombat, Nishta, Tristao De Braganza Cunha (1891-1958) and the rise of Nationalist consciousness in Goa, Appendix three, Ph. D dissertation, Goa University, Goa, 1995.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tribute to Manjula Gawde

On 26 th November 2004 Manjula Gawde Sattari, breathed her last in Goa Medical College, Bambolim, after 22 days of relentless struggle to survive. And as soon as she was declared dead the hell broke loose. Villagers rose up in arms and her body was unceremoniuosly half burned amids scuffles and police interventions on the very next day. The uproar over her death continues. Newspapers continues to bring the stories, politicians continue to take advantage of the situations, Police cases have been filed against the villagers and even arrested, yet the murderers of Manjula Gawde has not been arrested though who the murderers of Manjula Gawde is the common knowledge. Oh! Police believe it is the case of sucide!

Manjula Gawde (18) was beaten up with injuries by the her employer Vinita Savaiker (A cloth vendor married to pigmy collector Sanjay Savoiker) along with her family members including her father-in-law Krishna Savaikar on 4th November 2004. Vinita has been bonded in the exploitative employment in as the domestic worker- as house cleaner and cloth washer at Rs.200/- (Rupees two hundred only!) per month or Rs.6/- (Rupees Six Only) per day for the past two years. Actually she had collected only Rs.600/- over this period. At around 5.00 pm. Vinita Savoiker, the employer of the Manjula Gawde strated beating her up with dog chains, wooden sticks and of course the kicks and slaps. (Though the findings of the post mortem report is yet to be astained, her dead body possed black marks of torture on her chest and tremendous swelling at the vaginal area). Vinita while beating up Manjula was houling "I will never be at peace till manjula is dead". Manjula's mother too who was present was not only beaten up (by banging her to the pole) along with Manjula but was also threaten at the gun point by Krishna Sawaikar (father-in-law who posseses licenced gun) that in case she informs the villagers or the Police then she will be shot dead. (This is the fear which kept Kasturi from informing the villagers about the beating up incident till her daughters' death 22days latter!)

After mercilessly beating up Manjula Gawde, she was thrown into the middle of Beetlenut Orchard (owned by Savoiker family) where she was forced to drink liquid Pesticides that was used to spray in the plantations. (Savaikar family owns huge plantations- Kulagar at Bhatwadi, Advai, forest property in Mhadei of Cashew plantations, property at Kumbarkhand, Vagurem and Savaiker Industries). Here Manjula spoke her last few words to her Mother "Ayee maka Chau dili punn mhaka ti bori lagunk nam" ( Mom, I was given tea to drink but it din't taste good). The reasons for the wrath of Savaikar family is not difficult to understand. Manjula is not the first girl to be mudered in this fashion in the last few months. There is line of Girls Murdered- Tanuja Naik, Anjana Shirodker, Maria Vaz... the common factor being that they all belonged to vulnerable sections of society where mega irrisponsibility galore; injustice and fear all pervasive.
After beating up, Manjula was dropped near the residence of Gawade family who leaves in the forest in small 4 by 5 mud house with no property of their own but 3 genetically affected either deaf and dump or both family member. At this point Manjula's father Chandru Gawde was beaten up by the Savaiker family and warned him to shut his mouth about beating up of his daughter.The Gawde family was ordered to give salt water by Savaiker family and then take her to on Dr. Amsheker, private practitioner at Valpoi in his private clinic. After treating Dr.Amsheker reffered her to be admitted to the Goa Medical College on 19th november 2004- after complete two weeks. In between she was also given treatment by another medical practitioner in Margao on the advice of Dr.Amshekar.

In glaring incident of travasty of justice Police has been siding with the murderers of Manjula. After the mob of around 1000 people burnt the body in front of the house of Manjula Gawde, the next day instead of investigating the perpetators of violence, police arrested Manjula's brother Rajesh and her Mother Katuri along with the villager Bablo Gawde; stripped them of their clothes in the lock up except their underwears (excluding Kasturi) and were kept hungry without lunch and dinner. NEST denounces this action of Police. Further Police has slapped criminal cases against 16 villagers on some fictitious charges like assault on Police arrested and released them. (Around 1000 people had battled the police on 27th November 2004, why the cases only on 16 people? To create situation of fear in democratic India?) But cases has not been withrawn. NEST demads the immediate withrawl of cases against all followimg 16 people. They are Suresh Gawde, Manisha Gawde (Manjula's Sister), Krishna A. Gawde, Bhagwant Babli Gawde, Prakash K. Vantekar, Naru Ramnath Gawde, Ranganath k. Gawde, Gurudas P.Gawde, Umesh P.Gawde (minor), Prashant P. Gawde (Minor), Amresh Anant Gawde (Minor), Vishnu Shankar Gawde, Bablo H.Advaikar, Kasturi Chandru Gawde (Manjula's Mother) Vishnu Sazu Gawde and Rajesh Chandru Gawde (Manjula's Brother).

The police are raiding the house of Manjula Gawde- on the average every third day. NEST demands immidiate halt to the already shocked family of Manjula Gawde. While Savoikar family has been enjoying armed police protection since 27th November 2004. NEST appriciate the efforts of the villagers to organise against the Police Raj of the facist regime in Goa which goes by personal loyalies and class interests of bourgousie and feudal barons of Goa like the savoiker family. NEST specially applauds marvalous efforts of yougster Sushma Vantekar in bringing about unity and consciusness about democratic right of the citizens.

NEST 10 member team offered solidarity and encouragement to the Vantem villagers and the Manjula's family on 25th December 2004, 1st and 2nd January 2005. Goa State of course had no time. Earlier it was busy in organising IFFI in 2004. Now it is Busy planning IFFI for 2005- of course advance planning helps. This speaks volumes for the defence and safety of women in Goa. Manjula Gawde was an adivasi girl belonging to Gawda tribe.

Sebastian Rodrigues
January 2005

The Pissurlem Chopper attack

Chopper attack on Pissurlem’s Pandurang Porob: an investigative Report with comments and analysis.

By Sebastian Rodrigues, NEST, September 2004

Pandurang Porob, resident of Pissurlem, involved in resistance movement against mining invasion of his village in Goa was attacked with Chopper by the group of 12 people on 4th September 2004 at 9.am.
At seven in the Morning Pandurang intercepted water tanker of the Fomentos mining company and demanded two bucket of water to his house. The driver refused to oblige. Pandurang told the driver to stop the water service. The local contractor is Sagun Wadkar, the former Sarpanch and presently a member of the Pissurlem Panchayat. His wife Saraswati Wadkar is the present Sarpanch. They are implementing the exploitative orders of mining companies-backed by former Chief minister and present leader of the opposition Pratapsingh Raoji Rane- bulldozing ugly designs of the mining companies across the throat of the villagers. The mining companies in Pissurlem hold Gandhi’s dream of Panchayati Raj ransom.
Two hours later, at 9.00am when Pandurang Porob was returning from nearby Honda village on a motorbike, he was charged against by group of 12 people. One of them attacked left side of Pandurang’s face with the chopper. With this Pandurang fell unconscious to the ground. Then he was hit again on his left leg causing injuries. He was bleeding when his friend and fellow villager Pundalik Porob happen to pass by and rescued Pandurang from the fatal consequences. He was rushed to the Hospital for treatment at Sankhelim and discharged after 24 hours after putting on the stitches on his injuries. When visited him on 16 Sept. 2004 he was unable to walk without limping due to injuries to his left leg.
The unruly mob then smashed his motorcycle out of anger. It was lying at the local police Station on 16th Sept. 2004 when then visit to the village was undertaken.
This is not the first time that Pandurang has been attacked in mining related violence in Goa. Two years ago too, he was physically attacked- though without any weapons.
Pandurang Porob is the Attorney of the Pissurlem Communidade- having administrative jurisdiction over the land admeasuring over 10 lakh sq.mts. in the village. Pissurlem is the only village in the whole of Sattari taluka wherein this kind of indigenous land owning institution survives. In the pre-Portuguese era the land ownership has been Social in nature known as “Ganvkaris”. Portuguese during the colonial rule renamed them as “Communidades”.
The three mining companies, which supply water to the villagers of Pissurlem, are Fomentos, Damodar Mangaljis, and multinational Sesa Goa. These companies do this because village wells have gone dry since mining pits has caused scandalous damage to the ecology. Fomentos mines have been closed due to Public pressure 10 years ago. Yet the company continues to supply water in tankers to the village. This is because it hopes to re-start the closed mine in Pissurlem for Ore extraction.
Water supplied to the village of Pissurlem is from the Well at the neighbouring village of Sonxi. The Contract of water supply is awarded to Sagun Wadkar, who earns Rs. 28,000/- per month through water trade from various mining companies. Wadkar invests this money in order to pay police and the locals who are emerging as the embryo of mafia in the mining sector in Goa.
Pro-mining lobby in the village for a long time dominated the functioning of Pissurlem Communidade. However after the takeover of the communidade by the group led by Pandurang Porob, it began to pressurize mining companies like Sesa Goa to stop encroachments and to pay up the remuneration entitled for mining which was never collected earlier due to well oiled nexus between the communidade officials and the mining companies. The income collected from the mining companies by the Pissurlem Communidades crossed Rs.1, 00,000/- mark last year. Though this is negligible amount when compared to the earning of the mining companies, still the companies decided to tighten the screws on the Communidade members.
Pandurang Porob was offered bribes number of occasions in order to allow free hand to the mining companies. To begin with the offer was of Rs.2 lakh. When this was rejected it was doubled to 4 lakh. When he again rejected this then he was asked to fill the amount on a blank cheque. Panduarang refused this too. With this refusal mining companies’ option of quelling resistance through money power came to an end.
The second option was to use the State Power. But this option became non-starter since Pandurang is an active worker of BJP who is ruling the State of Goa. Police could not be used to harass him and others in Pissurlem in the mining resistance movement.
The Companies deployed the third option of muscle power. After the assault company (Fomentos) is blaming the driver and the contractor (Sagun Wadkar) for the deadly attack on Pandurang. However Company has not dismissed the contractor till date. This establishes direct evidence for nexus. And even if the Company had to dismiss the Contractor, it does not escape from the responsibility for the attack- the Principle of vicarious liability applies in this case- for both the driver as well as the Contractor have acted in the service of the company- even to indulge in the co-ersive acts of violence. This development itself is violence.
Over 80 acres of agricultural land is silted in Pissurlem. Five years ago these fields were cultivated by the will power and hard work of the villagers. But then the famous floods appeared in 1999 (mining was the cause of the floods) and deposited nearly 1-meter deep mining silt in to the Agricultural fields. Since then there has been demands for de-silting. Panchayat wants The Mineral Foundation of Goa (funded by mining Companies) to clear the fields. The Mineral foundation of Goa has been dilly-dallying the proposal for obvious reasons. This field has been identified for mining excavation by another company- Damodar Mangaljis. Why will Mineral Foundation of Goa de-silt these fields? They have every reason to collaborate with the village Panchayat to hoodwink the villagers.
These fields has been historically providing highest yield in whole of Sattari taluka. Compensation is being paid by the companies in order to leave the fields without cultivation. This is the way Goa’s tickling bomb of food scarcity is nurtured in the mining –invaded Pissurlem. It is indeed safe to predict that future of Goa is Famine- thanks to the butchery of the agriculture by the Mining Companies- Salgaocars, Chowgules, Damodar Mangaljis and Japanese Multinational Sesa Goa (in the case Pissurlem). Development fosters hunger!
Political Parties like MGP, Congress and BJP who have following in the village have been funded by the mining companies. Once they come to Power they provide shelter to mining companies bulldozing common people. Take the case of Chopper attack on Pandurang Porob. When he was attacked, Police refused to act. Pandurang is the BJP Worker. Goa has BJP Government. Chief Minister is also the Home minister. Yet Police refused to act. The reasons are anybody’s guess. The next day on 5th Sept. 2004 BJP’s Poriem Constituency General secretary Hanuman Porob (also an active campaigner against mining in Pissurlem and the resident of Pissurlem himself-who had been imprisoned as school student due to his opposition to mining destruction of agriculture) tendered his resignation to Goa BJP President. After some parleys with the party leadership, Senior BJP leader visited Pandurang in Pissurlem. He gave same as usual politically evasive response “We will look into the matter”. But Pandurang himself does not believe his party’s top leaders.
It not the police action or inaction that is the subject of discussion over here. The discussion is about how politics is forged in Class struggle. National and Multinational mining companies on the one side and the common People, Peasants on the other hand. The power of the mining companies in Goa’s polity is well known. They create and break the government in Goa. Besides regularly abuse state machinery for its benefit.
The message that is sought to be sent out is vehemently signaling towards the beginning of violent private intervention in defense of the mining Companies- in the 52 years history of mining in Pissurlem village – which has witnessed displacement of the entire village 28 years ago. It may even be called contracted violence. The village is fighting second wave of displacement of Dhatwada ward.
Pandurang Porob is raising the issues not just of political party which is ruling the state of Goa, yet helpless to protecting it’s own workers from the violent designs of the mining industry; he is also raising the question of food security, processes and contests of control over land, water, forest and agriculture; the processes that are becoming increasingly dictatorial. “So much so that even to speak out and demand two buckets of water is taken as offence by the mining lords of Goa. This incident speaks volumes on the quality of democracy prevalent in Goa of 21st century” as Hanuman Porob puts it.
Though Pissurlem is the village of indigenous settlements, it is caged in religious beliefs. There are as many as 16 Temples- biggest of which was funded by mine operator late Dayanand Bandodkar, who has also been the first chief minister of Goa. Tremendous energy – in terms of thought and money is incurred towards these activities. Mining companies too promote religious activities all over Goa: for as long as you are religious minded, the mining companies can carry on the loot in undisturbed manner. Like many villages, Pissurlem people too are intoxicated with religious opium and allowing mining companies and industry to go scot free with the grave injustices to the village unity, prosperity, ecology and People’s economy.
Mining has 52 years of history in Pissurlem. Over the years mining has flattened evergreen Majestic Mountain of Western Ghats and exported iron ore and manganese to Japan, Germany, USA, China and other countries. Villagers’ wells have dried up without a single drop in them. Last year (2003) when I inspected Pissurlem well belonging to Vasudev Porob on January 25th, I found it dried-up. The development means deprivation.
People’s thirst for water was sought to be quenched by diverting flowing Mhadei river water through a cannel- that too has not taken off. Even if it had to take-off it would have not have addressed the twin issues of sucking up of ground water by industries like Ambey metallic Ltd and others, and scandalous 24 hour pumping out of ground water by mining companies in order to extract ore.
Ambey metallic Ltd. belonging to one Mr. Agrawal from Delhi is horrendous eyesore to the picturesque setting of Pissurlem. The loans of this polluting plant were written-off by Parrikar Government last year (2003), of coarse for the percentage to be in BJP fund. Besides taking water from Government subsidized Industrial Development Corporation (IDC); has dugged down four bore wells in its factory premises. This highly polluting industry releases its effluents in the village water ways ultimately finding its way into Mandovi river; whose water Government intends channelizing for drinking purpose in Pissurlem through cannels. Destruction through so-called development.
Rule of the mining companies, even through it is ruthless goes on chiefly because of ignorance and fear. Religion fosters ignorance: Dempos for example have been sponsoring for “ Novo Somar” the Hindu festival in Bicholim as well as “Pejechem Fest”, a Catholic festival in Siridona, Ilhas. Sesa Goa has been giving donations to a temple in Pissurlem. Villagers too, have demanded donations to temples. Fear amongst People was inculcated through 451 years of Portuguese colonial rule. Though Portuguese has left Goa in 1961, the fear remains unshaken.
Most of the intellectuals in Goa- both from natural as well as social sciences are either scared to speak out against mining someway or the other have become beneficiaries of the various facilities offered by the corporate in mining and allied sectors. Mining companies always have a major say in the educational affairs of Goa. The mining corporate even had representation on Goa University’s senate. Also in reverse the V.C of Goa University is reported to be on the governing board of mining companies sponsored NGO-The Mineral Foundation of Goa. Mining companies have sponsored various fellowships in order to co-opt the intellectual community of Goa: Dempo fellowship is one of them. Sesa Goa has sponsored-researched fellowship in Goa University’s Microbiology department. Dempos are the professional clients of scientists at National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Dona Paula, Goa. Besides mining companies has their own colleges and press- where to speak and write against mining is an act of rebellion. On the contrary intellectuals have tolerated naming of roads after mine operators i.e. road from Bambolim to Panaji via Santa Cruz. Mining companies not only has abused nature in Goa, but also caused tremendous inequality through this kind of economic terrorism. They don’t deserve roads to be named after their founders.
Though intellectuals in Goa are paid through state taxes, they are scarcely bothered about the problems faced by the common people like those under discussion in Pissurlem. On the contrary through their silence and collaboration with state (Which is the executive committee of the ruling classes i.e. mining companies) and corporate have caused enormous harm to the well being and welfare of People in Goa’s mining belt and other areas. It is time for people to rise up boldly and demand ruthless accountability with the academic community of Goa.
There is an urgent need to denounce the chopper attack on Pandurang Porob. There is an urgent need to rise up against mining invasion of Goa. There is an urgent need for us to be inspired by the courage, determination and fighting spirit demonstrated by Pandurang Porob and other courageous people of Pissurlem. There is an urgent need to offer support and solidarity with those resisting mining onslaught on Goa. Immediately, the Fomentos mining companies owned by Timblos must be exposed. This company also owns five star hotels– Cidade-de Goa at Dona- Paula, Goa.
When you finish reading this report – speak out, speak out with courage; and fire, at least to one person of your choice- may be your Daughter, Boy-friend, Wife, Mother, Classmate, Teacher, Neighbor, Relative, Driver, Cook, Friend, Colleague at work or just anyone else of your choice. Your small action like this today has the potential to bring about huge change tomorrow. So, begin. This is a Public Trial of mining in Goa.

Act Now! Think Now! Reflect Now! Transform Now!!

I LOVE PISSURLEM

Mining has played havoc
With the lives of people
With the agriculture
With the forest cover and its
microbe wealth
With workers
With the wells and water
With the tiger, fox and squirrel
With the nests of Mainah, Sparrow
and Parrot
With the habitat of snakes and
Calothes
With the fish, fishing ponds and
Frog
With the natural springs and its
Coolness
With the trees—big and small.
Mining has pumped dust
Into the lungs of neighborhood
Residents.
Mining has corrupted
Politicians and bureaurocrats
Mining makes joke
Of the democracy of my land.

I can’t remain in peace
And witness houses of Pissurlem in
peril
The mark of muddy flood-waters
Inside the bedroom.
Victimized and rendered useless
Coconut trees stand
Visibly half dead;
Roots unable to suck water from
the ground
High-powered mining pumps
Keep ground water table
Perennially low,
Twenty-four hours a day
Pumps on without a halt.
Educational infrastructure
So thoroughly humiliated
Mining dumps about to enter
classroom.
Tuberculosis, Bronchitis
Are but the routine death of the
living.
Once a fertile land
Today story of tragedy
Fifty years of mining
Is creating ecological refugees.

O my beloved…
Wake up!
Few economic tycoons
Have waged predatory
Onslaught
Against the planet earth.

A call to you
From common ecological
Community
Come,
Let’s together voice
The suppressed words of our
Chests
Let’s methodically tackle our
Mining enemy
Let’s with plan wipe out tears and
Misery
Let’s in courage move ahead
To heal the shattered ecology
Let’s move with precision
To accomplish our mission
Let’s in humility mingle with
People
Let’s preserve in our heart
Values of democracy
Let’s extend our hands
To bridge the gaps of generations
Let’s listen patiently the words of
the studious
Let’s immerse deeply
In the habit of study
Let’s dare to venture out
In to new lands adventurously.
Let’s keep in focus
Pissurlem as case study
Let’s remember always
Love and affection of
Pissurlem People
Food and shelter they
Provided us
Swimming in Mhadei river
Indeed joyful
And exposure to
archeological insights too!
Let’s prepare to respond
In the style of Liberation
Let’s do all at our command
For I love Pissurlem!
It’s suffering People
And natural charm…
Let’s not allow to be
destroyed,
It’s serene calm.

Sebastian Rodrigues
1st April 2002

Monday, April 14, 2008

Colamb villagers warn Fomentos of Nandigram-like situation

Colamb villagers today warned Fomento mining company of Nandigram-like situation in case it tries to break the unit of the villagers and villagers unity with number of organisations including GAKUVED, Goa Foundation, and Goa Bachao Abhiyan.

This warning was served to the Fomentos today afternoon when the company official Joe J. Louis, Executive Director of both Infrastructure Logistics Private Limited - dealing with mining on behalf of Fomentos as well as Cidade de Goa - 5 star hotel of Fomentos visited Sulcorna Don Bosco Society and tried to initiate 'talk' with the couple of villagers along with a Salesian Priest.

Joe J. Louis, according to Hanumant Porob of Pissurlem has been the brain behind getting Hanumant arrested due to his opposition to mining in Sattari. Fomentos have invested their profits into Cidade de Goa from the huge gains from Pissurlem mines letting its pristine beauty, water sources and Agriculture go to dogs. Fomentos is one of the culprits along with Damodar Mangalji, Salgaokars and Sesa Goa.

Today Joe J Louis was campaigning against Goa Foundation, GAKUVED, and Goa Bachao Abhiyan (GBA) and asked the villagers to keep these organisations away and get into negotiation with the Company. These organisations according to Joe J Louis are funded by competing mining companies to oppose Fomentos.

Not only Mr. Louis does not want these organisations, he also does not want the rest of the villagers too for he knows that villagers angers will be enough for Fomento team to retreat back to Cidade de Goa.

Joe J Louis also informed the villagers that the son of his boss is all exited due to the negative publicity that has attracted its Colamb mines particularly on the Internet. He took name of Seby Rodrigues as amongst most hated by Fomentos.

Earlier South Goa Collector Gokuldas Naik faced wrath of the Colamb villagers on April 12 2008 when he was accused of siding with the mining company. Collector was told by Motesh Antao that Fomentos should carry on mining activity in Margao where its Public Hearing was conducted and not in Colamb. Collector was warned that in case Fomentos decides to resume Ore transportation then there is going to be law and order problem and he alone will be responsible for the same. Collector was questioned as to how in spite of Gram Sabha resolution opposing mining how can authorities permit this when Gram Sabha is supreme deciding authority.

Panicked Fomentos then decided to press emergency buttons and put their highest officials on diplomatic mission. he phone up Durgadas Gaonkar, President of GAKUVED, then he phoned up Sebastian Rodrigues but received no result from any of the calls. The day is not far when in case Fomentos does de-silt Colamb People's Agriculture then soon Silt will take its natural course into Cidade de Goa's Swimming Pools for tourists to enjoy with love from Goa's mines.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Sunday, April 13, 2008

US Students on Solidarity cum Research visit to Colamb


US University Students visited Colamb, Sanguem for the purpose of Research and Solidarity with People fighting Fomento mining company for destroying their agriculture, forest and water sources. They toured the mines, interacted with the villagers and offered Solidarity. Their visit lasted for three days from 13 to 15 October 2007. They were on Goa visit supervised by their teacher Prof. Douglas who teaches semester course 'Social Justice, Peace and Development'.
Besides Colamb, they also visited Dempo mines in Bicholim. However they were prevented from taking pictures of the ecological genocides of Bicholim perpetuated by Dempos for the fear that the Company may get exposed in International media. Ramesh Gauns Accompanied students in Bicholim while Rama Velip facilitated the Colamb visit. Mand too was involved in this educational venture in the form of critical inputs. Here are their reflections sent to Reggie Gomes by their Indian cordinator David Selvaraj on March 28 2008:


Hi Reggie,

Excuse the delay in writing to you. I have been nursing a bad back. Unfortunately I have not had a written feedback from the students from the US. Let me reconstruct for you their feedback.

a. The topography was 'awesome' and to see the damage done by the mines was horrible. In other words it was important to recognise the beauty of nature that was being commodified.


b. The hospitality was incredible. This was a repeated message. The students were able to recognise that the hosts and members of the community were not doing what they did because of commercial value but because they respected and accepted the guest.


c. The students were also able to see the immense courage of the people in the village. They were able to see that the people were faced with a Goliath (mining companies) and yet the small "powerless" community were prepared to challenge the injustices.


d. The students also had questions about whether or not this struggle could be sustained. What is needed towards this end.


e. It lit the students head to know that the mines are catering for the Olympics. A classic example of how global capitalism works. How resources of the poor are being depleted and used for the benefit of a "global community"


f. The students were also begining to make links with similar situations in their own country. And today in many ways corporate interests rule America. Today America recognises a large number of the impoverished and do not want to accept that the current paradigm of development is not sustainable. Why then does India follow this path?

Trust this helps. Please give my salaams to the people in the struggle.

Greetings of hope and life.

David Selvaraj