Monday, August 4, 2008

Maina Villagers opposes for renewal of mining lease

By John Fernandes

The Villagers of Maina, Cavrem , Pirla and adjoining villages strongly opposed the public hearing called by the Goa Pollution control board on Saturday at Shri Paikdev temple at Maina Quepem for the renewal of mining lease of Joleracho Dongor Iron Ore Mine of M/S. Shantilal K and bros. Pvt Ltd. which was marked with chaos and attack on the supporter of mine. The public hearing was presided over by the South Goa Collector G.P.Naik and Assistant Environment Engineer of Goa Pollution control Board Shri Sanjeev Joglekar.
The Sarpanch of Cavrem panchayat Madhu Malu Velip, Panch Member Sandeep Gaonkar and Babu Varak strongly opposed the mine on the ground that it will affect Maina and Cavrem village and will destroy the livelihood of villagers. Raising objection Panch member Sandeep Gaonkar stated that the Govt. High School of Maina is at a distance of just 300 mts. That Maina village is the highest producer of sugarcane cultivation in south Goa. The starting of mine will affect the school children and farmers and the very fabric of the entire village.

Dr. Audoot Prabhu Dessai Criticizing the mining stated that mining which is falsely proclaimed as the backbone of Goa’s Economy will brake the backbone of Goa in about 10 to 15 years. He further stated that as a result of mining villagers will be succumbed to number of air related dieses.

Adv. John Fernandes from Quepem criticizing the Rapid Environment Impact assessment and Environmental Management plan prepared by the company stated that the report is false, fabricated and suppresses vital and important information. He stated that report suppresses the information about the dozens of residential house where in around 150 people are residing including the houses of the Tribals which are there in the leased portion. The area is thickly covered with forest and even nation animal Tiger has spotted in the area, he brought to the notice of the penal further. There are number of natural springs in the leased portion and two Tribal temples namely the Paik Dev Temple where the hearing was conducted and Sateri Devi Temples also comes within the lease area. The mine is already started sans permissions and already caused extensive damaged to the environment, he further added.
Rama Velip opposing the mine stated that due to mining all water resources will be dried up and the agricultural land will be destroy and a day will come on the villagers particularly on the Tribals to bag on the street. He further stated that the curca river a tributary of Kushawati River will be destroyed.

When Shri Arvind Padiyar stood up in support of mine by giving false information and criticizing those who addressed the hearing and the opposed the mine at which time there was a big chaos. Those whose houses comes within the leased portion and the women folk who were present for the hearing tried to attack said Padiyar. However Collector and police interfered and normalized the situation.
Other who spoke against the mine includes Mathew Antao, Satyawan Devidas, and Fatima Cardozo.
The hearing was supposed to start at 11.00 AM however as the collector arrived 40 minutes late and hearing started at 11.40 AM. That 189 people participated in the hearing which was beyond the expectation of the Goa Pollution Control board as they made arrangement of just 50 chairs.

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