GAKUVED President Durgadas Gaonkar expressed his support to Advapal People’s struggle against Iron Ore mining. He was speaking at the public meeting at Advapal village organized by Advapal Nagrik Gramsudhar Samiti on May 04 2008.
On an unusual day in the history of movement around mining in Goa People coming from various parts of Goa to support Advapal villagers struggle. The meeting served the purpose of providing a platform for the speakers to share their expertise in different places in Goa. The speakers of the day were Claude Alvares, Rama Velip, Ramesh Gauns, Shamsunder Naik, Durgadas Gaonkar, Nilesh Sawal and Rajesh Patnekar, a local MLA.
It was an awakening experience for the villagers as they listened to the speakers on their study on mining with their vast experience and knowledge regarding the issue. The speakers covered a brief history on evolution of mining in Goa and also narrated the examples of villages of becoming victims in the bargain.
The main arguments highlighted the impact of mining on forest, agriculture, water and health. It also made people to realize how it is affecting their livelihood since they are dependent on the above areas. They also brought to the notice of the villagers the consequences like unemployment since the local people are not employed in the mining companies. Due to the pollution created by mining affects the health of people like TB, Cancer etc. The rash driving by the truck drivers puts people in danger as they walk on narrow footpaths. People’s houses are getting cracked.
The speakers made people aware due to mining the springs are drying leading to scarcity of water. As a result people from the villages have to purchase drinking water from outside. And mining also destroys the crop due to scarcity of water and soil erosion. Some of the speakers challenged the villagers by raising the fact on how villagers are cheated by the mining companies. The speakers convinced the villagers, it is high time to protect the land of Goa like a mother protects her child. They urged the people to be together to fight on this issue.
The speakers emphasized the point the development of any kind cannot be at the cost of people’s welfare. To counteract these development policies a need was reiterated, the people of Goa unite on the issue. Thus we can openly say “People of the Goa unite, we have nothing to lose except for our misery”