Saturday, November 29, 2008

Agitation against Syngenta breaks out in Goa

Peoples agitation against Syngenta pesticides plant has began in Goa. Situated at Corlim village panchayat jurisdictions has been given environmental clearances for expansion of its existing facilities at Santa Monica works. Environmental Clearance order granted on October 30, 2008 by the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) in New Delhi ignore existence of tribal villages of Dulapi and Mangado bordering land occupied by Syngenta's. Existing capacity at the plant site is 8700 tonnes of pesticides. Expansion clearance will facilitate this production to 12650 tonnes per annum.

Amongst the pesticides produced and granted environmental clearance granted from expansion is notorious 'Monocrotophos' that is banned in different part of the World. The existing production of it is 1500 tonnes per annum and it Will remain the same.

Syngenta's is leading global corporate with origin in Switzerland dealing with seeds and pesticides production and marketing. It earned 1,743 US $ million in seed sales in 2006. While in 2004 it earned 6,030 US$ million in selling pesticides (Agro-chemicals) capturing 17% of the global pesticides market.

Past two gram Sabhas of Corlim village Panchayat witness vehement public protest against Syngenta expansion plans. Last Gram Sabha was not allowed to proceed ahead as the elected representatives failed to answer the Syngenta related questions raised by public. Two days ago public meeting was organised in the village to protest against the Syngenta getting expansion permissions. Yesterday group of 25 Corlim villager staged "Halla Bol" move against Goa State Pollution Control Board member secretary. The group also lodged their protests against the Additional Deputy Collector North Goa for the same reason.

Syngentas has been releasing dangerous gases in the surrounding villages causing innumerable health problems. Syngentas has also lied in during the Public Hearing held on February 29, 2008 that it does not produce Monocrotophos in its Goa site. Several individuals and organisations had lodged their strong objections to the expansion of Syngenta pesticides plant but as usual Central government has once again treated Goa as its Colony for dangerous industry to the peril of its residents and Indigenous People.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Colamb villagers stop Fomento mining transport

According to information received late last evening group of Colamb villagers have stopped Fomentos mining transportation works again. Fometos were carrying on mining trucks from the forest land. Villagers reportedly have filed complaint against the mining company for violating forest laws and transporting the ore from Forest. Several trucks were stuck inside the Hiralal Khodidas mine with lease number 06/1949 after villagers squatted on the road passing through Forest Land.

Villagers are demanding that this mine be closed down. In the meanwhile there are unconfirmed reports that Police has provided escort service to Fomento mining manager en route to Police police station to register complaint against agitating villagers many of whom are tribals depending upon agriculture.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Friday, November 28, 2008

People-Police clash over mining transport in Ambaulim, Quepem

The Quepem remained tense on Thursday November 27, 2008 when the villagers of Copelabhat, Deao, Quepem blocked the entire mining trucks operating from Maina, Cavrem, Sulcorna ,Colomba, via Quepem. The blockade which started at 8.30 am continued till 1.00 pm.

Protesting villagers clashed with police while police tried to implement the order of the Quepem Deputy Collector Venancio Furtado to arrest the large number of villagers at Ambaulim village. Police was unsuccessful in arresting any of the villagers and Deputy Collectors orders proved impotent dished out to satisfy the mining companies - mainly Fomentos and Dinar Tarcar.

It may be recalled that the villagers of Copelabhat, Deao on 7/11/2008 filed a complaint before the Collector of South Goa copy of which was forwarded to the Directorate of Mines, Dy-Collector of Quepem, Executive Magistrate of Quepem, S.P. South Goa , Dy-S.P. Quepem, Directorate of Transport, P.I. Quepem, Assistant Director of Transport Quepem. The villagers also on 24/11/2008 issued to reminder to the collector.

The villagers of Copelabhat in their Complaint stated that they are facing lot of health problems due to the transportation of mining ore from their village. They also stated in their complaint that all the mining trucks transporting the ore are not following the guideline issued by the Director of Transport vide its notification dated 15/12/08.

The complaint further states that as the mining truck are loaded above the body level which results in spillage of ore on the road thereby causing dust pollution.

Speaking to press villagers stated that all the authorities failed to act on their complaint they are forced take the law into their hand forcing the mining truck to stop from operating. The blockade which was started at around 8.30 am and continued till 1.00 pm as a result around 260 trucks were line up at a distance of around 7 kms from which extended from Copelabhat to Kirlagally . However all the other vehicle movement was as usual were continued till the arrival of the police. It is learnt that in collusion of the police the truck driver block the public transport.

At around 9.30 am the Quepem police team arrived at the spot. The Dy-Collector Venancio Furtado and the Executive Magistrate Sudin Nato reached to the site at around 10.00 am. They tried to convince the villagers but failed.

They told the Dy-Collector that their office has not taken any action against their complaint which constrained them to come on the road. They put forth their demand which include immediate issuance of notification prohibiting entry for mining truck between 1.00 pm to 2.00 pm and from 7.30 am to 8.30 am, meantime mining truck should be stopped. They also demanded stopping the transportation of the mining truck till the completion of repair work of the road which is presently underway.

That after hearing the villagers the Dy-Collector Venancio furtado showed the villagers the proceeding of the meeting called by him on 26/11/2008 initiating action against the overloading truck and to prohibit the truck from entering Quepem Municipal area as demanded by the villager. However the villagers question the Dy-Collector that such proceedings of a meeting has any force of law, to which the Dy-Collector Venancio got irritated and order the P.I. of Quepem police Station headed by Santosh Dessai to arrest the villagers.

As the agitating crowd was large at initial stage the police hesitated to arrest. However as the Dy-Collector Venancio insisted to arrested the agitators the police made an attempt arrest the villagers. In the process of arresting the villagers there was a scuffle between the villagers and the police. The police were also at the receiving end as they were not having any lady constable to arrest the women. The Police also abused the villagers. Meanwhile police force from Curchorem along with Dy-S.P. along with full armed police van arrived at the spot.

At around 11.30 am in collusion with the Quepem the truck drivers managed to block the road for other vehicle and in spite complaint to the police they did nothing to clear the obstacle raised by the truck drivers.

That around 12 noon Quepem MLA Babu Kavlekar rushed to the spot and after listening to the grievances and demand of the villagers directed Dy-Collector Venancio Furtado to stop the transportation of ore from Sulcorna and Colomba via Quepem from Friday failing which the villagers threatened to stop the transport again. The Dy-Collector assured the villager that by 15th December he will issue a notification prohibiting entry during school hours and regulating speed limit. Even in spite of the assurance the villagers stick to their demand.

The villagers then demanded to issue challen to those truck which are overloaded to which all the truck driver got irritated as most of the trucks were overloaded and were bound to get a challen.

The Quepem MLA then called the RTO Quepem and directed them to take stern action against the overloading truck. However as the truck owner constantly pleaded to excuse them today so no over loaded truck were issued challen.

At the request of Quepem MLA and the assurance of the Quepem MLA and the Dy-Collector at around 1.00 pm the villagers allowed the mining truck to go. However they threaten to come again on the road if the misdeed of the truck continue.

John Fernandes

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Heavy Police deployment in Ambaulim, Quepem

According to the reports received at 11.15 am this morning heavy police deployment in Ambaulim, Quepem, Goa has taken place. Since morning villagers of Ambaulim has blocked the public road transporting iron ore from mines operated operated by Fomentos and Dinar Tacar. Hundreds of mining trucks are stopped on the road.

Police with riot gears are set to clash with Goans standing up to mining industry's terror in Goa's hinterland. Quepem Depuy collector too is present on the venue in case lathi orders become necessary. Police now has blocked public road. So scarred are mining companies! And Goa Chief Minister is only busy playing his flute while Goa is terrorised by mining industry...a la Nero!

Of late there as been number of high visibility public actions against mining industry. On October 11 2008 in Maina, Quepem Goa Police supervised beating up of protesters by mining company thugs. Police then arrested the protesters. On November 12, 2008 same was repeated in Colamb, Sanguem when villagers and people from other parts of Goa laid siege to Fomento mines and 86 people were arrested. On November 18, 2008 protesters fighting Fomentos in Colamb were framed in criminal case and arrested.

Today's action in Ambaulim is set to become another very important page in history of Goa all out to fight mining terror in that is lasting for the past 60 years beginning from Portuguese Colonial era that ended in 1961 but legacy of exploitation continues in free India. In fact Goa's liberation struggle has began. This time liberation from mining exploitation and terror.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Fomento, Tarcar mining trucks blocked in Ambaulim, Quepem

Local people has blocked mining transportation through trucks today morning at the Ambaulim Church junction in Quepem taluka. Around 100 trucks filled with iron ore are grounded so far when the reports last came at 9.45 am. Mines in Sulcorna, Maina and Colomba operated by Fomentos and Tarcar are blocked by the residents of Ambaulim to demand close down of the operating mines till narrow roads are widened.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Police harrasment again in Colamb

As per information received at 1.00 pm today Goa Police team visited Colamb and are looking out for young man Tedoz Antao to arrest. Tedoz is one of the brave young men from Colamb resisting Fomento mining company. He was not at home when the police team arrived.

Police left message with his mother that Police are looking out for him to arrest at the earliest at the complaint filed by Fomento mining company security personnel. Thus Goa Police has reduced itself as providing security to Fomento's security.

It is clear from this fact that Goa Government is in active collusion with Fomento mining company. The question is: Why?

Sebastian Rodrigues

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fomentos dumping mining waste in Colomba Forest

Villagers of Colomba claims that Fomento mining company operating mining lease 06/1949 has began mass dumping of its overburden in to the village forest land. Forest department has so far not taken any action against Fomentos. Reasons for its inaction are yet to be know.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Fomentos to deploy Goa Police to Transport Iron Ore

According to the information received late last night, yesterday November 20, 2008 Fomentos called meeting of mining contractors at Cidade de Goa 5 star hotel in Dona Paula, Panjim. At this meeting yesterday strategy was worked out to resume transportation of iron ore that is blocked in protest by people in Colamb, Sanguem.

As a part of the strategy Goa Police would be paid Rs.26 lahks to provide security to the company while transportation of ore. Police personell are to be stationed on the road that passes throught the village and transport the Ore. Transportations contractors are told to be ready to take risk of damage to the trucks from villagers disgusted with mining. The is to come in operation within next few days - latest after the end of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Panjim.

On November 12 2008 Police force had come on the mine to defend and protect Fomentos with tear gas shells though they were not used.

Police for the past few months already lunched battle of attrition against the Colamb villagers. On October 6, 2008 Police tried to arrest villager but their attempts was foiled. November 12, 2008 Colamb villagers and other supporters totaling 86 were arrested from the mine site while protesting. On November 18, 2008 8 Colamb villagers in the forefront of the agitation were implicated in fabricated criminal case and arrested.

Quepem Police Inspector has further threatened to register more cases against the Colamb villagers if they do not surrender to Fomentos. This was told two days ago on November 19, 2008 to the Family member of Egyps D'Souza - one of the villagers in the forefront to defend the village of Colamb- after he was called at the Quepem police station.

Considering this background the new strategy of Fomentos needs to be taken seriously; for it amounts to de-facto privatization of Goa Police to unleash repression on people of Goa to protect private interest of the mining company that is destroying peoples' livelihood, agriculture and water sources including Kushavati River, a tributory of Zuari River in South Goa.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Quepem citizens actions againt mining transportation

The villagers of Copelabhat Quepem on November 19 2008 Wednesday evening gheraod the Assistant Director of Director of Transport Quepem Shri G.S. Narvekar over an hours over their inaction against the overloading mining truck.

That around 10 villagers barged into the cabin of the Assistant Director of Transport and question him about the action taken by his office against the overloading mining truck. Answering to the villagers the assistant Director of Transport informed the agitating villagers that their office has issued challans to the erring truck. Over which the villagers question the RTO officials if challans are issued than how the overloading of truck still continues and that too when they have to pass by the side of the RTO their office. But the RTO could not give satisfactory rely to the villagers. The irritated villagers then warned the RTO it they do not take action against the overloading truck then they will come on the road and block the mining truck without giving any prior intimation.

It may be recalled that the villagers by complaint dated 7/11/2008 brought to the notice of the RTO and other officers alleging of overloading of mining truck which result in spillage of ore thereby causing dust pollution and health hazards. They also brought to the notice of the officials about the non compliance of the notification issued by the Director of Transport laying guidelines to the mining truck.

The RTO then called the contractor Ashok Naik and directed him to load the truck properly failing which they will be forced to take action against the truck. The Assistant Director of Transport then assured the villagers that from tomorrow they will see that the truck are loaded properly. Over this assurance the villagers moved out from the RTO office and went to meet the Dy-Collector of Quepem. As Dy-Collector Venancio Furtado was not present in his office the villagers placed their grievances before the concerned officer with a request to communicate the same to the Dy-Collector.

John Fernandes

Fomentos, Colomba is not for mining!

The March on Fomentos mine on November 12 2008

Fomento employees in uniform - Blue shirt, Black pant and black shoes - on the day villagers from Colamb and other villagers marched on the mine.

Fomento mine in operation in Colamb

Villagers after arrests at Quepem police station

In the middle of preparations just outside the gate of the mining company

Discussions prior to marching on mines

Assembled people occupied road leading to Fomento mine

Republic on the mines!

Save Colamb from mining terrorism

Blocking Fomentos road to destruction

Inside Police van on the way to Quepem police station after being forcefully arrested on the orders of mamlatdar Sudin Natu. Traditional role of mamlatdar was to protect agriculture today it changed to destroy agriculture. Villagers of Colamb like Purso Gaonkar questioned and objected to the role of Mamlatdar in ordering arrests of the villagers.

This one is Police Inspector Santosh Dessai in bull charge pose against Motesh Antao of Colamb village on the mine. Motesh is fierless defender of Colamb and PI Santosh Dessai is fearless defender of Fomento minng company. On October 11 2008 he colluded with Dinar Tarcar mines in Maina, Quepem to beat up 8 protestors by minng goons in his presence. PI Santosh behaved as a blind man pretending nothing has ever happend and went on to arrest protestors and even sent them to jail. One of the arrested includes 85 year old grandmother Dora de Souza who had chained herself in front of the mining company.

Would mark on the tigh of one of the protestors beaten up by Fomento security. Pain caused with this would are multiplying fast and Fomentos will have to answer for all that it has done to nature, agriculture and human beings in their corporate history.

Torn shirt of one of the protestor, Courtesy Fomento mining company that has invaded adivasi lands in Colamb.

Bulldozer on the more peice of mountain to be chopped to earn profits for Fomentos.

Police tore apart banners of Colamb villagers. Police tore apart freedom of expression guranteed under the Constitution of India. PI Santosh Dessai ordered to tear these posters according to information provided by eye witneses.

Police in Action

Goa Armed police force brought in by Fomentos to quell democracy

Police preparing for arrest of the protestors

Squating protestors with their messages on banners at Fomento mine

Fomentos, Don't rape Colomba!

Message to Fomentos: Colamb is for fields and farms and not for mines.

Trucks inside Fomento mine

Mining trucks in operation on November 12 2008

Sebastian Roderigues with pictures from GAKUVED and GOAMAP teams in Rivona.

GOAMAP demands closure of Fomento mine in Colamb

Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP) strongly condemns repeated Police harassment by way of arrests of Colamb protestors against mining companies. Latest arrests of seven people on November 17 2008 is another testimony the fact that Police is allowing themselves to be used to further the interest of the mining companies in Goa.

The seven people includes Rama Velip, Motesh Antao, Egyps D’Suza, Dument D’Souza, Shanto Velip, Telu Dias and Xavier Fernandes.

Few days earlier on November 12 2008 around 86 people were arrested while protesting against the mining company that operates lease 06/1949 belonging to Hiralal Khodidas. Besides arrests three people were also beaten up in presence of Police force at the mine site.

This collusion between mining companies and mining mafia had been observed earlier on October 11 2008 when around eight protestors were beaten up by goons of the mining industry in the presence of police personnel and protestors arrested and sent to jail.

Before that there has been on number of instances where in Police were used to defend the mining companies that are all out to ravage the village economy in Colamb. The situation is grave in the light of the fact that in case mining companies are allowed to operate the mining leases then there is going to be no land left for the village. Out of 1929 hectares of village land 1510 hectares are covered by mining leases.

It is indeed a tragedy of our times that mining companies and our political leadership is systematically letting Goa die a fast death by drying up water sources and ruining of agriculture.

GOAMAP demands that Goa government take urgent notice of the prevailing situation and close down the controversial mine and cancel its mining lease.

Sebastian Rodrigues


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Colamb protestors to spend a day at Quepem Police station today

Seven Colamb protestors who were released on bail last night are to spend day at Quepem Police station today. This was the condition on which they were granted bail last night. The seven villagers includes Motesh Antao, Egyps D'Souza, Dument D'Souza, Shanto Velip, Rama Velip, Telu Dias and Xavier Fernandes. They will have to be at the Police station from 9.30 am to 12.00 noon and from 2.30 pm to 5.00 pm

It is interesting to note that in spite of police complaint against Fomento mining company for destryoing their agiculture neither official nor managing director of Fometos have ever been arrested. This is clear indication as to on whose side State machinery in Goa is operating at present. State machinery inluding the police has become the extended arm of the mining companies in Goa.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Monday, November 17, 2008

Seven protestors arrested in Colamb

The triangular nexus between mining companies, Contractors and Goa Police is at work again in Colamb, Sanguem. Today afternoon seven people were arrested and till 8.20 pm they were not given bail. The key seven people in the movement against mining industry in Colamb have been arrested in a desperate bid to subdue the movement. The people includes Motesh Antao, Egyps D'Souza, Dument D'Souza, Shanto Velip, Rama Velip, Telu Dias and Xavier Fernandes.

It is indeed one of the biggest tragedy in post-liberation Goa that minng companies has been granted free hand to dismemeber this state through mining industry. Instead of Putting officials and managing director of the mining companies like Fomentos behind bars for ecological genocide of Peoples' livelihood, the State in Goa has allowed them to thrive in Goa's destruction even more drying up every possible water source every day.

Goa's rulers today are all out to finish people of Goa - lock, stock and barrel - and only mass revolt at this stage will change the tide.

Anyway keep writing and communicating to Chief Minister of Goa Digambar Kamat. Please e-mail him at and let your message put some good sense in his decision making abilities. You can even speak to him at his cell phone 09822129339. You may even wake him at night by calling him at his house in Margao 0832-2730432 or if is sleeping at his official residence you may call him at Altinho residence 0832-2224170, 0832-2224995. You may also fax him your advance condolence message on oncoming death of Goa because of mining.

Sebastian Rodrigues

P.S.:- It is 8.37 pm now and got to know that 7 bold protesters on Colamb have been released on bail. Criminalizing of Goan citizenry is on. We salute the People of Colamb, We salute every one who is in support of them.

Police harrasment in Colamb: One protestor detained

Police harassment has increased in Colamb, Sanguem after the November 12 action of the villagers. Today at around 1.10 pm one protester Egyps D'Souza is taken into custody and detained at the Quepem Police Station.

The villagers of Colamb are protesting to oppose Fomento mine - Lease number 06/1949 belonging to Hiralal Khodidas in the village that is disturbing their agriculture, Forest and Water bodies. Egyps has been in the forefront of this movement and that's the reason Police has began targeting him at the instance of the mining company.

Call up Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat to lodge your protest at his cell number: 09822129339. You may also call him up his official residence landlines: 0832-2224170, 0832-2224995. You can also call him at his office numbers: 0832-2419841, 0832-2411049. Fax access too is available at 0832-2419846, 0832-2223648.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Body as a site of resistance: activism in an era of neoliberalism

By H.Bedi

Underlying much Indian organizing around industrialization and development issues are concerns about the changing political and economic regimes promoted locally, nationally, and globally. The rise of neoliberal forces has created a different context for organizing and activism in India. With the encouragement of capitalism in particular, many communities and broader struggles question who is gaining from market liberalization. Protest against economic liberalization has been partially shaped through actions where the body of affected communities and other concerned citizens have been used as sites of resistance. The body as a site of resistance has proved to be a particularly poignant and charged form of protest, particularly when examined from a gendered perspective. Activists have used their bodies in a range of ways to represent their opposition. They have physically blocked industrial construction, undergone hunger strikes, walked hundreds of kilometres in padyatra, sat in dharna, and placed their emotional and physical bodies at risk in a myriad of other forms.

This piece will look at a specific form of bodily protest in relation to a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Orissa. Seen as a part of the economic liberalization of India, SEZs are spaces owned and managed by private entities within a sovereign nation that abide by a special set of trade and economic laws, provide sophisticated infrastructure and tax incentives, and are designed to promote economic growth (Seminar 2008). In the protest against these zones, the body becomes a source of power, but what are the ramifications for those involved, particularly women? What are the gendered connotations when women occupy a site and are met by a private security force that is entirely or predominantly male? There is a particular vulnerability for some women using their body as a site of resistance. This has been painfully evident when women protesting SEZs in Nandigram endured brutal sexual violence.

This thought piece is based on reflections from on-going fieldwork and secondary resources. Through a review of media information, and qualitative interviews with activists and communities affected by industrialization, certain patterns of protest and themes of injustice have emerged. Respondents describe that they feel as though the threat of displacement and disenfranchisement, particularly among agrarian communities, is occurring on a new scale as industrialization is promoted. Some also describe heightened aggression and violence against communities and other protestors when they physically stop or block industrial activities. Despite this perceived threat, communities, including women, actively use their bodies as a medium to display their discontent with exclusionary industrialization. In doing so, women actively engage in the struggle and at times this intimate form of protest renders them vulnerable and may further existing marginalization related to class and gender. Recent protest related to the promotion of Special Economic Zones reveal how and why women chose to protest with their bodies, desperation associated with the struggles, and the particular ramifications they face as a result of their decisions.

As quoted in Business standard, an affected villager, Sulachana Dei, explains, "we are ready to give our land but not leave one inch of land for Posco steel project" (Business Standard 2008). The South Korean Pohang Steel Company (POSCO)’s plans to establish a steel plant, mines, and a port in Orissa state have led to much civil unrest, violence, and political maneuvering. POSCO applied for SEZ status, and while the status was delayed, moved forward with alternate environmental clearances. Posco’s survey teams attempted to enter Dhinika village in February 2008. Their movement was halted by hundreds of women, children, and other villagers who created fences around the circumference of the village. This collective monitored the fence using bows and arrows, lathis and other weapons to ensure that the teams could not enter the site. Women stood shoulder to shoulder with men and children armed only with bows and arrows to defend themselves against the power of the company and the state.

The head of a local organizing movement states, "village women have taken oath near village Goddess not to give one inch of land to the said project." The villagers prefer not to face the uncertainty of displacement, and have actively used their bodies as a virtual shield from the land encroachment. Occupation of any industrial site is potentially dangerous for anyone, but entry into a special economic zone can be particularly perilous because these zones do not have local or national police guards. Instead they operate under a distinct set of laws, and are governed by private security forces employed by corporations. Although police accountability in India can be questionable in many instances, SEZ private security firms have even less accountability to protect the welfare of local community members- particularly women who may not usually be so visible in an industrial site.

For the women protestors, there is also a level of social exposure and uncertainty associated with this form of resistance. How will male security forces respond to their body shield? How will their community view them after they have spent time in physical protest? Despite their sacrifice, in August 2008 the Indian Supreme Court ruled to allow Posco to use large amounts of forest land, possibly displacing 20,000 people. In September, affected community members continued to protest, carrying bows, arrows and sticks, against the plant.

In Orissa, affected villagers directly used their bodies as sites of resistance to demonstrate their rejection of this form of industrialization. Streaming through this example is personal and collective conviction, threats of violence, a strong connection to land, and a willingness to place the individual body in harms way to protect their land and dignity. Through these actions, some women occupy new spaces that are usually predominantly masculine areas of work. The presence of women in what may be considered masculine spaces is quite remarkable in the local cultural context. In this way, they go from being invisible or not present in these industrial spaces to visible protestors, and in certain instances at risk of social or physical scrutiny. They were susceptible to violence, and the potential post-protest social ramifications.

This example is illustrative of the extent that communities feel pushed by economic liberalization and industrialization that is not aligned with their connection to agriculture and land. The strain of this threat has pushed many women to protest in this manner, exposing them to physical risk and possible social repercussions. Some of these women have never protested in their life, and to lay their emotional and physical bodies on the line to protect their families and land is an extreme display of their personal convictions. As this is research in progress many questions remain unanswered, and there continues to be much to learn and understand about women and how they use their bodies as sites of resistance to SEZs.

Three Goa Police Jeeps petrolled Colamb last night

Three Goa Police Jeeps patrolled Colamb on November 13 2008 night in order to provide security cover to the Fomento mining company that has transformed itself from unwanted guest to unwanted intruder. Fomentos are operating the mine in Colamb, Sanguem with the agreement of 95% sharing of profits to itself and 5% to Hiralal Khodidas who were granted mining lease by erstwhile Portuguese Colonial regime in 1949.

Police Petrolling began in the evening at 6.30 pm on 13th November 2008 and ended early morning 5.00 am on 14th November 2008.

Colamb village people has used various democratic and constitutional methods such as petitioning to the authorities but all the authorities have failed to protect Colamb villagers and Fomentos continue to enjoy a field day with State protection to destroy Goa's ecology and livelihood of its people. Fomentos like all other mining companies are making sure that hope of possible future for Goa's children are crushed under the minin dozers forever. This is all that they have to offer to Goa's children and its grandchildren on children's day today. We have an option either to accept it as gift from mining companies or reject it with our stong words and bold actions.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Text and Pictures from Colamb protest of October 12 2008

Quepem police with a strong police force on wednesday 12/11/2008 arrested around 83 villagers including a Don Bosco priest for forming unlawful Assembly and for trespassing into a mine.

Tension run high in Colomba on Wednesday when villagers of Colomba, Advalpal, Nuvem, members of Social Justice, GAKVED stopped the mining activity at Gulcan Dongor Iron ore mine of Shri Hiralal Khodidas presently operated by Sociadade Fomento for causing destruction to their paddy field, Kulagers, water, forest and the Kushawati river.

That today morning at around 10.30 am around 200 villagers including Don Bosco priest gathered on the road leading to the mine with banners placard in their hand shouting slogan marched to the mine.

When all the villagers reached at the gate of the mine they were stopped by the mine security that was stationed at the mine. The villagers directed the security to open the gate they then marched near the mining office. They called the mining officials and requested them to stop all the mining activities. Immediately the officials stoped all the mining activity and all the officials including the truck drivers, the machine operators gathered near the office. They then had a marathon discussion with the officials and brought to their notice the nuisance and the destruction caused by the operation of mining activity . They brought to the notice of the officials the different complaint filed by them before different authorities for causing destruction to their paddy field, water, forest and kushawati river. They also requested them to permanently close down the mine. The agitated villagers then marched to the mine and after inspecting the same returned to the mine office.

At around 12.00 noon Quepem P.I. Santosh Dessai along with his team arrived at the spot. When the police arrived at the spot the manager of the company directed the operators to go to the mine and start the operation. On which the agitated villagers seat on the road and stopped their vehicle.

At around 1.00 PM Quepem Executive Magistrate reached at the spot to take stock of the situation . The magistrate requested the agitating villagers to disperse but the villagers did not pay any hid.

At around 2.30 Dy.Sp. Rohidas Patre along with additional police force from Quepem, Sanguem, Curchorem and Armed police force arrived at the spot and forcibly taken into custody of around 80 villagers including Don Bosco Sulcorna Priest Fr. Mathew D’cunha and around 40 ladies. They were brought to the Quepem police station in police vehicles and arrested for forming unlawful assembly and for trespassing. .

It is learnt the while returning through the forest area two tyres of Dy. S.P. Rohidas Patre jeep got puncture due to the obstacles raised by the villagers.

When Dy.S.P. Rohidas Patre was contacted informed herald that the police has arrested 73 people out of which 34 ladies and 39 gents.

To avoid any untowards incident Quepem Sub-Divisional Magistrate Venancio Furtado, Quepem Executive Magistrate Sudin Nato , Sanguem Magistrate Amol Gaonkar, South Goa S.P. Allan D’Sa, Quepem Dy-SP. Rohidas Patre, Umesh Gaonkar, Curchorem P.I. Nilesh Rane and strong police force was stationed at the police station.

Speaking to Reporters Dr. Audoot Prabhu Dessai stated that we are fighting for our right. "The mining company is denying us our right to live by destroying our water, paddy field, Kulagers, rivers. We will not give up our fight till we die. "

Sherel D'Souza who is one of the lady arrested stated "even if the police put me under bar for days together I will give my fight against the mining. I will fight till I die. "

John Fernandes

Two Jeep load of Goa Police in Colamb for night!

According to information received received at 6.55 pm today two jeeps belonging to Goa Police has entered Colamb village with intention to arrest villagers protesting Fomentos mining company. Villagers are up in arm against Fomentos are demanding that the company would up its business in the village.

Yesterday when the protests against the mining company was going on Police came and harassed villagers and other people from various parts of Goa. Some security staff of the mining company beat up three protesters. Police team took possession of the banners and placards tore it apart. All this, villagers allege was done at the instance of Fomento mining company that is known to use Police for the private purpose of profit maximisation.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Goa Government as Joker in the circus of mining companies

Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP) strongly condemns Goa Police connivance with Fomento mining Company. This connivance was once again exposed - after Maina episode of beating up villagers in presence of Police by mining goondas, on October 11 2008 - with Police Arrest of Colamb villagers along with number of other People on Solidarity trip to Colamb yesterday 12th November 2008. Around 86 people were arrested for allegedly trespassing into the mining lease 06/1949 belonging to Hiralal Khodidas when they forced the mining company to stop work.

One lady constable bearing badge number 6769 assaulted Colamb woman Dument D’Souza just before the arrests in the afternoon in presence of mamlatdar. Mining security staff along with the truck drivers assaulted three people while police were affecting arrest.

Villagers are demanding that this mining lease be closed down due to negative effect on their water bodies, forest and agriculture - being the mainstay of village economy. The agitation to close down mining in the village has been on for the past one and half year. If logic of trespass into mining lease is accepted then entering 85% of Colamb becomes a criminal offence as it is covered with 23 mining leases. And entering into 1/4th Goa’s geographical area that is covered with over 1300 mining leases becomes criminal activity. Every movement of people in these localities including dwelling and agriculture is criminal tress. This is simply ridiculous!

It is truly shameful that government of Goa have chosen to align government machinery to be abused for private purpose thereby reducing Goa Government as mere joker in a circus of mining companies.

GOAMAP demands immediate cancellation to Hiralal Khodidas mining leases number 06/1949 that does not belong to Fomentos. GOAMAP also urges Goa Police not to dance to the tune of mining companies such as Fomentos and go about harassing people that are contributing to their salaries as public servants.


Sebastian Rodrigues

Condemning arrest of 100 protesters

Dear All,

We from South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy (SADED, Delhi) express solidarity with anti-mining protesters of Goa, 100 of whom have been arrested in Colamb Village of South Goa yesterday. What may be termed as yet another blatant violation of human rights by corrupt state-mining-mafia nexus, this long drawn battle of villagers to protect their land and livelihood, got disrupted, yet again. On an earlier occasion, ten people had been arrested last month for protesting against mining at Maina Village. This time the number of arrests made has increased to hundred...

We condemn the arrest of 100 protesters at Colamb and demand their release

We demand an end to all mining activities in Goa that threaten lives and livelihoods of villagers

We appeal to you to circulate this information as widely as possible

You can also register your protest by sending a fax to Goa's Chief Minister at 0832-2419846, 0832-2223648.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Protest Colamb Arrest to Chief Minnister of Goa

Please fax your protest about Colamb arrests to Chief Minister of Goa who is also Mines minister presiding over Goa's destrution forever.

Fax no: 0832-2419846,

Police anger on food, banner in Colamb

According to the sources Police expressed their anger on banners and food of the protesters. Police after violently lifting squatted protesters raced the vehicles to the police station at Quepem. Food that was cooked was left at the venue even as the hungry protesters wanted to take the food before they could get into the police vehicle.

PI Santosh Dessai directed police constables to tear apart the protest banners of those protesting Fomento mines.

Even as Police when speeded to Quepem Police station 2 women fainted in the Police van. Totally 85 people are arrested out of which 38 are women. Arrests were ordered by Quepem Mamlatdar Mathur Natu.

These arrests once again demonstrates that State of Goa and its administrative and Police machinery is dominated by mining industry.

Arrests took place at around 3.20 pm today 12th November 2008 - another historic day in the life of Goa and its people that refuse to accept death of its water sources at the hands of mining industry.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Around 100 protestors arrested in Colamb

According to the just received information Quepem Police has taken around 100 people in Police custody from the site of the protest against Fomento mine in Colamb, Sanguem. One person was beaten by Fomento security at the protest site in presence of Police presence.

People from different parts of Goa had assembled in Colamb to protest against the mining activities of the Fometos. Durgadas Gaonkar, Gajanad Raikar, Rama Velip, Shyamsunder Naik are some of the people amongst those arrested. There are around 25 women in amongst the arrested people. More details are awaited.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Goa battles mining industry: Fomentos challenged in Colamb

Goa today is battling mining industry. People from all over Goa have gathered in Colamb village of Sanguem Taluka in solidarity with the local villagers. According to the reports received at 12.50 pm Fomentos are forced to close down the mining activities today morning.

Goa Police team headed by Quepem PI Santosh Desai has reached mining site with six police personnel. In peaceful Colamb village Fomentos have lost their sleep as the company was patrolling the site the whole night and the senior official of mining company - that owns Cidade de Goa five star hotel patronized by Government of Goa - is camping the mine from 7 am in the morning.

Fomentos are avid Portuguese loyalist as they were awarded mining leases by erstwhile Portuguese colonial regime and continue to be loyal till date. In fact its boss and Managing Director - Audooth Timblo - is listed to be present for Portuguese Government's function today and tomorrow evening.

Colamb villagers have submitted up teem number of memorandums to various authorities to shut down this mine but authorities have behaved deaf.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Failure of Governance in Goa to benefit mining industry

It looks like that is a failure in governance in Goa when it comes to at least mining industry. Even after petitioning the authorities such as Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, Goa Pollution Control Board, Director of Mines, Director General of Police etc on various aspects of destruction caused by mining industry there has been no response to people's grievances at all.

Here is one example of letter written to authorities and ignored by Goa Government. Wonder how long mining mockery of Goa and its people will continue.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Monday, November 10, 2008


Perhaps you are aware, perhaps you are not aware that mining posses formidable threat to the Goas’ survival. Yet it is true; mining has been terrorising Goa over the past five decades. People of Goa have tolerated this all these while but they can no longer do so. Hence we share this message with you so that you can take it far and wide as friends and well wishers of Goa and its People.

Due to rampant exports of iron ore to many countries in the World including China and Japan due to demand for steel, our villages in hinterlands – in the talukas of Bicholim, Sattari, Sanguem and Quepem – are facing terror attacks of the mining industry that is largely supported by the government in Power. The Goas’ monstrous mining industry that took birth in the womb of Portuguese Colonialism has only flourished after Goa’s liberation and integration with India. Today it constitutes Goa’s number one enemy that is destroying our water bodies every day. Our majestic green mountains of Western Ghats are being chopped down for exports. Villages in the mining belt are becoming increasing thirsty for water and ironically depending upon the very industry to quench their thirst. Pissurlem village in Sattari Taluka is only one example to this situation.

Mining has damaged agriculture – our paddy fields – and snatched food from our plates. It has silted our rivers so badly that fish no longer spawns, Kushavati river is only an example to this. Our villages are becoming increasing poorer while few mining companies are usurping entire profits. A coterie of people has evolved as contractors of the mining industry and providing their services for speedy destruction of Goa forever. Forever because none of them has ever created Single Mountain that they are robbing today from our future generations.

Our water supply stands badly threatened due to mining activities taking place in the catchment areas of Selaulim, Opa and Assanora Dams.

Our two main rivers are taken over by the mining industry for loading and transportation of ore. Mandovi has 37 loading points with 1500 trips of barges per year while Zuari has 20 loading points with 1800 trips per year. Trips are from loading point to Marmagao Harbour from where the ore is exported in giant ships. Several big open cast iron ore mines operate in the catchment areas on Mandovi and Zuari rivers leading to huge accumulation of silt. Each mine creates rejection between 1000 - 4000 tonnes!

Our protected Area forest too is targeted by the mining industry. After Supreme Court closed down nearly 150 large mines miners have gone to Supreme Court they are permitted to resume around 60 these mining leases. Goa has forest cover of 1224 sq. km in addition to 200 sq. km of private forest.

Number of protest has erupted in Goa today because of mining. However mining companies in collusion with State Police force is involved in beating up and arrests of the protestors in routine manner. Colamb, Advalpal, Cavrem, Sirgao, Pissurlem, Mayem, Usgao, Maina, Khola etc are some of the villages that has have rose to challenge mining industry and are constituting boiling points of directly affected Peoples’ Protests in Goa. Number of tribal villages too is directly at the receiving end of the mining invasion and has challenged the industry.

We request you to take the message out from Goa that mining industry is terrorizing Goa – its people and nature – and we want mining terrorism to stop and Goa to remain prosperous without mining.

Remember constitutes 0.11% of India’s land mass and involved in 35% of India’s iron ore export. We are doing this at the cost of our very survival as people and at the cost of our rivers and water bodies that are source of life. Mining is on project to transform Goa into desert wherein everyone will want to avoid this place forever. No tourism, No fisheries, No IIFI, No agriculture, lots of building with no water running in their taps, No longer green goa as mining converting Goa into bloody red, lots of fights over water and survival assets. Mining companies would have made their money by then- in fact they already have – and settled in Switzerland, France or other green pastures.

Yeah, it is good to know how much money Mining industry has already made over the past few years: In 2003-2004 total legal (there is a huge illegal export that goes unaccounted) iron ore export was 22,942 thousand tonnes fetching Rs.46,457 million. In 2004-2005 total legal iron ore export was 24,717 thousand tonnes earning Rs.61,174.575 million. In 2005-2006 total legal export was 25,314 thousand tonnes at the value of Rs.1,77,198 million.

In addition to this large number of Members of Goa Legislative Assembly (MLAs) has entered into mining business during the past 5 years. That has seriously eroded capacity of Goa legislature to even bother about ongoing mining terrorism.

With Goa’s mining companies earning such a huge income it is hard to explain as to why Goa needs to have deficit budgets. In 2003 budget deficit was 2,141.10 crore rupes, in 2004 it climbed up to 2,615.17 crore rupees, and in 2005 budget deficit short up to 3088.67 crore! It is all because mining industry is juicing out Goa in every possible way! With this earnings Goa would have been highly prosperous State. But it is all round loot of Goa at the behest of handful of Mining companies that Goa urgently has to get rid of.

Stop mining terrorism in Goa NOW!

Gawda Kunbi Velip and Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED)
Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP)
Ganv – Ghor Rakhan Manch (GGRM)

For further update log on at

Friday, November 7, 2008

Colamb villagers serve urgent notice on Fomento mining

Villagers of Colomba, Rivona
C/o Rama Velip, H.No. 36
Colomba, Rivona

Date: 07/11/2008

The Director,
Department of Mines,
Government of Goa,
Panaji – Goa.

Respected Sir,

Sub: Request to stop the mining of Hiralal Khodidas Mine T.C. No. 06/1949 at Colomba, Sanguem immediately.

In reference to the above subject, we the villagers of Colomba village request you to take immediately. This request is made to you because of the following reasons:-
1. The mine is destroying our paddy fields.
2. The mine is destroying our paddy fields.
3. The mine is destroying the water bodies of the place.
4. The mine is causing silting of Kushawati River.

The main source of livelihood of the villagers is agriculture. This has been seriously affected. So we request you once again to stop the mine immediately, failing which we the villagers will be forced to stop the same in peaceful way.

Yours faithfully,
Rama L. Velip

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Eco-friendly vs Eco-hostile development in Goa

“Rivulet bursts into flames at Sancoale” read the front page story on Herald yesterday 2nd November 2008. The incident narrates the sad state of affairs Goa is gripped with. Our rivulets are on fire. Our wells are on fire. Burning rivers is a sign indeed of extremely sad state of affairs in our midst in Goa. The report mentions that is the seepage of petroleum products that has made rivulet and the surrounding wells ripe to go on fire. Nearby industries in Port Town of Vasco are squarely responsible for this state is anyone’s sensible guess. The authorities that are not able to pin down the cause and identify the culprit are another joking matter that deserves public attention. Of course investigations have been imitated by Goa State Pollution Control Board (GPSCB)!

The Sancoale rivulet on fire is only one example of the manner in which development in Goa has been grossly anti-nature. There are several other examples wherein the situations are no better. The entire mining belt of India has done massive damage to our water bodies. Our rivers are massively silted with mining rejects, natural springs dried up, wells are without water and dangerous water crisis has hit the mining belt. The crisis is threatening to hit the coastal belt as well with rampant mining in Selaulim Dam watershed.

Mining industry is leading all round destruction of Goa. Water shortages that are to hit us in near future is direct fall out of this situation. Tourism and rampant construction activities are steadily destroying water bodies of Coastal Goa. Due to leakages in septic tanks ground water is increasingly getting polluted. This is unhealthy development – hostile to nature.

Besides mining, tourism and Construction lobby, it is automobile industry that is responsible for large scale ecologically undesirable development. With increasing number of vehicles everyday, the demand for new roads and widening of existing roads, including widening of existing highways is gaining currency. These roads are beneficial to industry alone. Six lane highway road widening projects of the state government of Goa is another example to this pro-automobile industry drives.

Automobile industry does not stop at the influencing State policies alone. It has also influences civil institutions such as spaces around Temples and Churches in Goa. Through out my childhood I visited St. Anthony’s Church in my village of Siolim. Its compound used to be very cool and I used to enjoy direct contact with the mud. Over a past decade or so things changed: church decided to tar the compound wall that now caters as superb parking slot for vehicles of those coming to the church on Sundays and other days. Now it is tarred and gets heated up! I miss something every time I look at it. No doubt it has benefited few individuals; automobile industry captured one more frontier – the church compound. One only need to count number of Church compounds and Temple compounds in Goa that are tarred there by increasing temperature on ground specially during sunlight. This is another unhealthy development practice adopted by our society.

The re-thinking on development paradigm that is eco-hostile has to come from society more so from popular folk level. This so because our scientific establishment has meet bought off largely by industry that is bent upon generating large scale eco-hostile development projects. Media then is roped in to manufacture consent for its acceptance. The essence these projects being eco-hostile necessarily needs lots of coxing for its acceptance in society. If it does not work then coercion is deployed – legal and administrative coercion. Democratic processes are subverted – as it is happening in recent attempt of the State-Industry combine to win themselves legitimacy through various regional plans under intense debate in Goa since 2005.

The current rise in articulation levels of the People in Goa is very healthy sign. The response in the face of pain is cry – soft or loud – that expresses the state of affairs. The protests and their current state in Goa is exactly this. They have rose up to say what they do not want. It is heartening that people in Goa have rose up to express pain and say what they do not need – Commercial housing, Mining, Special Economic Zones, Casinos to name only few.

There is expressed concern in few quarters in Goa that that this is too negative an orientation of movement and it needs kind of positive agenda to change its contents and image. This is a legitimate concern and must be addressed on priority. One guiding principle that comes to mind as I reflect: Movements must identify and document water bodies and their details and must vow to defend them at all cost as the water is source of life on this planet earth that we inhabit. After identifying series of water bodies identify the linkages of these in their daily lives with regard to water and related security and independence. Then identify the water sources and ground water bodies’ network that is prevalent in once city and village.

From water one needs to move on to food cultivation spaces and move towards making Goa food self dependence. Land is crucial in this endeavour. We need to decide whether to continue dishing out of our precious land to Real Estate, Industry and Mining or to reverse the trends. These concerns have to come centrally on the agenda of the movements.

It is not enough to think on eco-friendly development pattern, land ownership patterns and the way they have been changing from the time of Portuguese Colonial beginnings in 1510 needs to be understood. My study on the large tracks of land under occupation of Aldeia de Goa in Nauxi-Bambolim in Tiswadi taluka has brought forth these sharp asymmetries emerging in land ownership patterns over this period. In 2010 we are about to complete 500 years of Portuguese landing in Goa. It is a very good time to attempt a critical assessment of the development paradigms that we have in place. It is also very good time begin serious efforts to move towards paradigm shift in term of ideas and notion of development. This is needed both from the perspective of ecology and well as from the perspective of direct democracy.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Mining transport stopped at Cavrem

Tension rose high in Cavrem Quepem on Monday when a mining truck driver drove his truck in a rash and negligent manner endangering the life of a motorcycle rider from Velipwada Cavrem.

The incident occured at around 11.30 AM when the truck loaded with iron ore was proceeding towards Tank where the ore is stacked, when reached at a narrow bridge at cavrem drove the truck in a rash and endanger manner thereby risking the life motorcycle rider Thulo Velip who was proceeding to his house at Velipwada. However said Thulo Velip escaped unhurt. The irritated villagers noted the number of the truck and all the villagers who were working in the paddy field marched on the main road and stopped the truck involved in rash and negligent driving while returning. The irritated villagers then manhandled the driver of the said truck.

It seems that the truck was transporting the ore from magnum mine operating in survey number 27/1 and 27/2 and transport contractor of which is Balli Zilla Panchayat member Subhash Phaldessai. The villagers then stopped the entire mining transport from operating on the road. They demanded the appearance of the contractor at the site. At around 1.30 Quepem police appeared at the spot and in the process of diffusing the situation requested the villager to allowed the loaded truck to go.

That at the request of the police the villagers allowed the loaded truck which were blocked to go but with a condition that till the contractor appeared before the villagers and meet their demand no transport should be started. It is learnt that the transport is be operated by Balli Zilla panchayat member Subash Fall Dessai who was once upon a time a strong opposer of mining at a Public hearing held at Fatorpa regarding the Bauxite mine has recently turned into a mining contractor has decided to meet the villagers on Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile the villagers of Cavrem informed herald that at the time of starting the transport the contractor assured the villagers that the transportation will be done with due care without endangering the life of the villagers , however within the last few months three to four cases of negligent driving their by endangering the life of the villagers.

John Fernandes

Monday, November 3, 2008

XII NEST Annual Conference at Dandeli


269, Panda vaddo, Chorao, Tiswadi, Goa 403 102 (Ph. 0832 2239968)

12th Annual Conference on PROTECTED AREAS & HERITAGE

22nd – 24th December, 2008

Wildlife Education And Training Centre, Kulgi,
Dandeli Wildlife Sanctury
Mobile: 0958284291831
Landline: (08284) 231585

Dedication: This conference is dedicated to the memory of REKHA - our friend and leading activist who departed from us on 11th August 2008 in Belgaum.

ABOUT NEST: It is a nonfunded voluntary organization completing 14 years of its activities. It is founded by Prof. Bikram Das Gupta, Department of Chemistry, Goa University, Goa. The theoretical focus is holistic & interdisciplinary. NEST as an organization is an interface between the Academicians, Professionals, Activists, Workers & Common People to enhance and consolidate the understanding of the pressing problems. The group is also involved in solidarity meets with different groups of people threatened by development paradigm. Annual commemorations of Hiroshima Day, May Day & Environment Day etc are other NEST activities. The following are the themes of last 11 years:

  1. ‘Nature Society & Transformations, Peaceful Society, Madkai, Goa.
  2. ‘Development and its consequences’, Peaceful Society, Madkai, Goa.
  3. ‘Development and its consequences’, Govt. School, Mencurem, Goa.
  4. ‘Institutions, Ideologies & Knowledge Systems’, Zantye College, Bicholim, Goa.
  5. ‘Science & Education in Historical Perspective’, Kamleshwar High School, Korgaon, Goa.
  6. ‘Dynamics of Order & Disorder in Nature & Society: Chaos, Systems Theory & Chaocomlexology’, New Leed Trust, Kalyanapuram, Tamilnadu.
  7. ‘Peoples Resources & Resistence’, Madras Christian College, Tambaram, Tamilnadu.
  8. ‘Indigenous people’, IDC, Ranchi, Jharkhand.
  9. ‘Political Economy’, Liberty Library, Mahanandwadi, Kerala.
  10. ‘Women, Workers & Humanism’, Shikshak Bhavan, Pune, Maharastra.
  11. ‘Transnational Corporations, People & the State’, Mahale Hall, Chorao, Goa.


SANCTUARIES: Wildlife, Man & Animal conflict, Eco-tourism, Eviction & rehabilitation, Modern Developmental activities (Mines, Dams, Industries etc.)

RESERVE FOREST: Forest Dwellers, Environmental Laws, Joint Forest Management, Forest Fire, Forest Roads, Flora & Fauna.

MOUNTAINS: Peoples, Degradation of Mountains, Burn & Slash Agriculture, Land slides, Mountain Climbing.

HERITAGE: Monuments, Cave Paintings, Rock Carvings, Traditional Patterns, Folklore, Coral reefs, Lakes, Rivers, Rivulets, Ponds, Streams, Ground Water, Canals, Oceans and Bio-diversity.

DANDELI WILDLIFE SANCTUARY nestles in the Northern stretch of the Western Ghats ecosystem situated in Haliyal and Joida Talukas of Uttara Kannada District of Karnataka. It extends over an area of 475 Sq kms. This sanctuary forms the Northern limit of the South Indian Elephant’s natural sojourn.

Fauna: Tiger, Panther, Wild Dog, Gaur, Sambar, Cheetal, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Bear, Langur, King Cobra, Blue throated Bulbul etc.

WEATHER: Warm clothes are required.

VENUE: Kulgi Nature Camp is 12 kms away from Dandeli towards Ambika Nagar. Dharward 60 kms via Dandeli. Belgaum 90 kms via Dandeli and Karwar is 100 Kms. The nearest Railway station is Alnawar which is 33 kms from the venue & the Airport is Dabolim, Goa.


Accomodation: 10 tents with common bath & Toilets Rs. 290/- (2 × 2) = 20 per day

2 Tents with attached bath & toilet (2 × 2) = 4 Rs. 500/- Per Day

Domitory with common bath & Toilet Rs. 75/- (15 beds) Per Day

Food: Rs. 100/- per day per person.

Safari: 24th December Morning 5.30 a.m. – 9.00 a.m. (Tentative)

Vehicle charges Rs. 100
Entry fee Rs. 40 (Rs. 20/- for children)
Rs. 140 per person

Facilities for Dining Hall, Confence Hall with LCD, white Board etc. are available.


Director, Green India Foundation,
Dandeli, Dist. Karwar, Karnataka.
09448722850 (M)

Kunbi Community Centre
Joida, Dist. Karwar,
09449628361 (M)

Secretary, Eco Conservation Organisation
Dandeli, Dist. Karwar, Karnataka
09448009398 (M)

District Tribal Network Forum
Haliyal, Dist. Karwar, Karnataka
09900429277 (M)


Valkini 2, Sanguem, Goa.
09823593358 (M)

Curtorim, Salcete, Goa.
0832-22786221 (R)

Department of Mathematics
Goa University, Goa.
09881332807 (M)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The reason for locking up Cheryl...

The following article was posted on Goanet by Hartman de Souza on October 12, 2008

*Why they put four women in the jug…*

Yesterday afternoon at around three in the afternoon, in Maina, Quepem, forty-six year old Cheryl D'Souza, her nine-year old daughter Aki, her mother Dora, aged eighty-four, and two women from their household, Rita and Shashikala, were manhandled by the police (after they had been attacked bygoons from the mining company) and put in a cell at Quepem police station.

Before one reads political ambitions in Cheryl's actions, her own take isthat it was a *last ditch* resort, a necessary bit of theatre to focus attention on the ironies of this whole scam they call 'mining' in Goa.

She was joined by Father Mathias from Sulcorna, and Rama Velip and someothers from Collomb, both villages under threat from mining operations andwho had pledged their unstinting resolve to stand by her side. The Goans were joined by Kurush Canteenwala, a filmmaker from Mumbai, who caught thebus the evening before to join them in their protest on Saturday morning. In June, he had already visited Maina and Collomb and north Goa, shooting his short, but blistering documentary on mining, titled 'Goa, Going, Gone', busy doing the rounds.

At the last meeting of the anti-mining committee she attended in Panjim, Cheryl was told in no uncertain terms by Dr. Claude Alvares, who ought to know, given his unstinting resolve in the matter, that she could expect no recourse from the courts and had to, perforce, take the fight to the streets. The mining's started again, she told the committee, I see the trucks getting ready, and they're lining up on the road outside the mine.You stop them, is the message she got, don't take it lying down…which is exactly what she did.

At Cheryl's request, Saby Rodrigues joined her to show solidarity andsupport. I don't have the exact numbers sitting here in Paud… I get the basis of this account from Cheryl over phone last night, from the hospital.They were taken there after languishing in a cell while the goons and police paced outside working out how best to work things out so that the mining continues from Monday morning. Cheryl tells me they've bashed both the cars…

CNN IBN, NDTV 24/7, even BBC were informed about the illegal mining operations in Quepem in late May and right through the monsoons, but allsighed off, saying they had already done a 'story' on it. Cheryl's joked about this before, saying, that it needed her head to be broken before they think it's 'news'. Her protest was intended to be dramatic; she would block the road in front of the mine with the cars and chain Aki, Dora, Rita Shashikala and herself to them. The men would stand to the side and offer support.

It did not pan out that smoothly. From nine in the morning their protest had the mining company abuzz, with managers and drivers in a tizzy. By late evening, goons led by a young political aspirant, perhaps even a staunchally of the Chief Minister for all one knows, attacked the male supporters standing by. Cheryl's driver, Kasim, was beaten up; twenty men pounced on the young, tough Goan (with experience in Iraq) Cheryl hired to protect her family. Saby's camera was smashed. Kurush had his glasses broken, and was kicked several times while he was on the ground. Cheryl tells me she unlocked the chain and went to stop the goons. She was abused in the vilest language, the goons and their leader telling her exactly what they would like to do to her to show her who's the boss. The police inspector and his posse arrived and stood by while all this was happening, tapping his batonon his palm and staring at Cheryl.

To Cheryl's great misfortune, CNN IBN and NDTV 24/7 may still feel she doesn't make it to the news at 9, but her actions may just highlight the political skulduggery at work, and give people the chance to bring Goa backto the rails with honest politicians. Last night, villagers from Benaulim hit by the corrupt practices of builders showed up outside the police station, and today at 6 in the evening I'm told there's a meeting in Margaoto plan out where to go.

When one says Cheryl's was a last ditch battle, this is true.

It was Digamber Kamat himself who said there would be a *blanket ban* on mining until his cabinet's Draft Mineral Policy (DMP) was properly discussed. He said this at his house when he met some 25 people frommine-affected areas at his house the day before the DMP was made public. He said this in response to a statement that the mining operations in Quepem were illegal and in front of noted activists like Dr. Claude Alvares, RameshGauns, Saby Rodrigues and many others.

A few months back, during the rains, one of the mining companies (owned by a minister in the government no less) cut down about forty trees in the area adjacent to her land. Cheryl and her lawyer immediately filed complaints. The matter was hushed up, in spite of investigations carried out by forestryofficials. What to do, one honest official told her, all the fellows in the south have been bought.

For the last fourteen years Cheryl D'Souza and her late husband, Tony, developed their property to be a viable and profitable farm. When they bought it, borrowing to do so, they got it dirt-cheap. When they first tested soil on their land, they were told it's rich in iron, they could be millionaires. They laughed and built their house over the richest lode. Both actively worked closely with honest forest official Archana Singh to stop illegal felling of trees, mining of river stones, and illegal poaching. Cheryl slaved in marketing to pay back the loans and bring home the bacon,while Tony worked on the land with help from the agricultural department.

Cheryl has been under threat ever since Tony passed away in a tragic accident. Because Tony was tough, no one dared to talk about mining. For the last year, the mining has come closer and even closer.

A wise man said recently that "Democracy must be something more than twowolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner". What's happening inQuepem right now, in villages from Kawrem, Maina, Collomb and all the waysouth to Sulcorna, makes those words come back. What we have here a large mine-owner contracting out his dirty work to other mining companies, who, in turn, contract this dirty work out to a few other dirty, fly-by-night miningoperations of the base sort.

These above mentioned wolves, aided by truck-drivers who've taken loans from them, are intent on destroying the environment. There is nothing less than that in their minds. I can write about the majesty of a spring in Maina till the cows come home, they will rip the water from the ground. They want to do to Quepem (*in spite of what the draft Regional Plan pronounces for it*) what has already been done in the poisoned minefields in north Goa, or what they will soon do around the coastal plateau where the bauxite is.

There are a few other farms in the area too, one a major sugar-cane grower,but these have reasons to sell. The wolves come closer then…around her farm, the minister in question has already moved excavators in, ready to dig up land that has hitherto been used to farm sugarcane. The land owner sold out,in the process cheating the widowed wife of his brother out of her share.

Cheryl herself was offered an astronomical sum to sell her property. She laughed and said how it was enough to pack up everything, including the house and dogs, and just move to New Zealand. Then lighting a cigarette,saying, "yes, but I'd never be able to look at myself in the mirror again.Tony was cremated on the land two years and some back. He loved this damnplace, I hated it, full of snakes and all sorts of creepy crawly things,give me a damn flat in Margao any day is what she used to say. Tony was the environmentalist dabbling with organic techniques, she was happy either reading or watching TV when not working." Then, after Tony died, she changedher mind about the place. "It grew on me" she says, "I thought of doing something in Tony's memory. She figured out there were so many young children in the villages, what it really needed was a good school. That's what he said too, Cheryl says. Before she could think that idea through though, two huge hills disappeared in less than eight months. Overnight, she re-educated herself on the environment.

Four days before she chained herself and immediate household to the cars, she sought an audience with the chief minister, telling him what a minister in his government was about to do. He told Cheryl his hands were tied, he was helpless…

Hartman de Souza teaches theatre arts at the Mahindra United World College in Paud, Maharashtra.

Illegal Mining at Maina, Quepem

Photo by John Fernandes.

For the text story of this illigal minng in Maina, Quepem click here.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Maina Mining in Balli communidade land!

The mining activity is being illegally carried out in Communidade property under survey No.27/1 and 27/2 of Maina village of Quepem taluka by Mr. Ajit V. M. Kadnekar through his contractor Magnum Minerals Pvt. Ltd. having office at Curchorem Goa claims Ex-Attorney of Communidade of Balli Rohidas Datta Phaldessai.

Said Rohidas further claims that as per the information received by him from the mining Department under Right to Information Act that one Voikunth Kadnekar of Margao has a mining lease under T.C. No.12/53 in property Bateagal or Bateaxembugal of Maina village and as per the said information of the mining department the survey number of the said mine are not traceable. However said Kadnekar through his contractor is carrying out mining operation in property Joleracho Dongor under survey No.27/1 and 27/2 which property belongs to the communidade of Balli and in the said property the mining department says that one Shantilal Kushaldas and Irmaos of Margao is having a mining lease . "How can there be two mining leases in one property" wonders Rohidas.

That as per the inquiry there is no property in Maina village by name Bateagal or Bateaxembugal where presently the illegal mining operation is going on. That the NOC issued by the Panchayat for said Kadnekar to construct shed is in survey No.17 but has down construction of weight bridge in survey No.27, alleges said Rohidas.

He further claims that the present illegal activities in communidade property is going on in collusion with the representative of the communidade as the committee of the communidade has given a NOC under Communidade seal to said Kadnekar is without authority and for monetary gains. "I have on 30/9/2008 filed a complaint before the administrative of Communidade and before the Mamlatdar of Quepem on 24/9/2008 to take action in the matter but the authorities are yet to act in the matter and the mine is in operation in full swing which shows that everybody has a share in the illegality" alledges said Rohidas.

"Due to the operation of the illegal mine the low lying paddy of the communidade has been badly affected. If the mine continue further than entire paddy field and other cultivation in the area will be affected" says Rohidas further.

John Fernandes