Thursday, May 8, 2008


No issue can be seen in isolation. There are always existing links that one needs to discover and materialize while dealing with any issue. Similarly we have on hand the mining issue which cannot be seen in isolation. Forest Act is one avenue that is being discovered that can play a major supportive role in strengthening the rights of the people affected by mining.
Seeing the need to increase the awareness of the people and also to find linkages between the mining issue and the people’s rights, a one day seminar on Forest Rights Act was organized in Colamba village on the 6th May 2008. The resource person called was Advocate Bryan Lobo of the Sochit Jan Andolan (movement of oppressed people) from Maharastra.

In order to understand the Forest Rights Act better, to create awareness among the people and cater to the present day problems of the people the following was discussed: Kumeri Cultivation, encroachment issue (forest land), land leases, collection of Minor forest produce, declaration of community forests, disputed lands, preparation of ST certificates, forest related developmental issues.

Besides these the procedures of claiming for rights and the steps for drafting these claims was also discussed in details. There was an active participation from the members present for the seminar.

The outcome of this seminar was that six out of the thirty members present volunteered to form a committee to study the Forest Rights Act and to understand the present status of the act in Goa. In order to create awareness about the Act two villages in Quepem and Canacona talukas, were chosen.

Meet was organized by Gawda, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED).

With instruments like PESA, Panchayati Raj Act and the Forest Rights Act which place the rights in the hands of the people, we may hope to see a transformation of all those oppressed in Goa.

People who participated in the day long program includes Dr. Bikram Dasgupta, Durgadas Gaonkar, Babal Gawde, Rama Velip, Deepak Karmalkar, Ulhas Gaonkar, Vinaya D’souza, Manguesh Goankar, Rajanikant Velip, Anand Velip, Advocate John Fernandes, Milagrine Antao, Palmira Dias, Socorine Dias, Espu Fernandes, Egyps D’Souza, Soiru Sawant, Arjun Velip, Purso Gaonkar, Sitaram Velip, Babuso Goankar, Sebastian Rodrigues, Mercelina Sen, Smitha Oliveira, Constancio Rodrigues, Premdas Velip and Others.

Vinaya D’Souza,
Constancio Rodrigues,

Mercilina Sen,

Smitha Olivera,

Sebastian Rodrigues

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