22 member delegation consisting of People from different parts of Goa today called on Chief Minister of Goa Digamber Kamat at his official Altinho residence. People coming from Goa's mining belt had joint discussion on the impact of mining on the villagers in number of villages. The Villages from where people came for the meeting with CM includes Advalpal, Sarvan, Bicholim, Sirgao, Maina-Quepem, and Colamb. Besides people from the organisations such as GAKUVED, and Goa Foundation.
Goa government has come under increased pressure from the public and media to curtail mining industry that has been terrorizing Goan villages by ruining their agrarian economy and ecology. Chief Minister declared that he has no interest in protection mining industry in Goa and he will take steps to regulate the same. Mining policy is the first step in that direction.
Dr. Claude Alvares began the discussions by pointing out gross illegalities by mining companies in Goa. Rama Velip and Dr. Avadooth Prabhudesai presented the scenario of Colamb village with Maps. They told Chief Minister that their village stands to disappear in case mining leases gets activated.
Ramesh Gauns sounded warning bell by getting into technicalities as to how mining is detrimental to the interest of Goa. He explained as to how it will adversely effect tourism and fisheries industry of Goa, besides creating major water shortages due to mining inside water reservoirs of Selaulim and Opa water works.
Shamsunder Naik, presented case of Advalpal mining and dwelt on how his village is suffering due to mining and their agitation is going on since 2005.
Dinanath Gaonkar along with a former Sarpanch of his village narrated a tale of tragedy of Sirgao village where in over 70 village wells are gone dry. They called upon Chief Minister to look into the matter.
Hartman D'Souza represented the case of Maina in Quepem where in two MLAs of Goa Legislative Assemby Joaquim Alemao and Anil Salgaonkar are involved in illegal mining in pristine forest land.
Durgadas Gaonkar, President of Gawda, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED) told the Chief Minister that tribal community of Goa is worse affected due to mining expansion in Goa. Chief Minister agreed with Mr. Gaonkar and said the tribal community is particularly vulnerable in Quepem and Sanguem taluka as mining expansion is concentrated in these two talukas.
Mr. Umarye from Sarvona presented the case of Vathadev, Sarvona Zantye mining wherein if the mining activities begin then it stands in the middle of major risks including flooding as the mine lease is located in flood prone zone on Bicholim River.
Sebastian Rodrigues, Co-ordinator of Mand introduced himself as the one who has been tagged as Naxalite. Chief Minister said he do not share that view and he never called any one Naxalite.
Chief Minister requested that he be given the list of all the illegal mines operating in the State of Goa so that he can take action against them. Mr. Kamat, when pressed by the delegates for action he told villagers to physically block operation of mines that are illegal.
Environmental Activists Sandeep Azrekar and Nilesh Naik were amongst others present during the meeting with the Chief Minister.