Sunday, December 21, 2008

South Goa Collector's defense of Ambaulim Police violence condemned

Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP) takes strong objection to the South Goa Collector G.P. Naik’s defence of lathi charge on villagers protesting in Quepem Taluka’s Ambaulim village on 17th December 2008. South Goa collector’s statement appeared in the section of press 19th December 2008 (Times of India).

GOAMAP notes with serious concern that G.P. Naik has let the office of Collector to be used and abused by mining companies to promote their own selfish interest causing tremendous hardships to the local people in number of villages in Goa. It is indeed ironies that in the land of Mahatma Gandhi – Father of Indian Nation that preached peace and non-violence our State officials like the Collector of South Goa are involved in defending violence.

The villagers of Sanguem and Quepem are involved in intense struggle against mining terror unleashed on the people and evergreen forests of Western Ghats. Collector instead of appreciating and supporting the larger interests has colluded with the dangerous mining lobby that is all out to finish off Goa’s hinterlands in quality terms – clean water sources, fertile lands, fresh air and majestic Mountains. It is indeed a tragedy that Goa is has officers of doubtful calibre in responsible positions like that of South Collector. It is indeed very sad reflection on the Goa’s Chief Minister Digambar Kamat that such people are at the helm of affairs.

Clearly South Goa Collector G.P.Naik found no merit in this letter from the villagers to act upon. However this is not the first time that he has behaved in this manner; earlier on 12th April 2008 he had threatened Colomb villagers to deploy police force to protect Fomento mining company to transport ore from Colomb in Sanguem amidst overwhelming protests from the villagers.

Collector believes that people has no right to cause inconvenience to public, how come then mining companies has right to pump in dust into peoples’ lungs and endanger school students walking on the road.

Collector’s statement “If you approach us with your problems in a systematic and dignified manner, we will deliver goods” is a superb example of hypocrisy and double talk on the part of Collector. Ambaulim villagers had served letter dated 7th November 2008 to the South Goa Collector with their hardships. Here is the content of the letter that collector overlooked to suit the nefarious interests of the mining companies:

“We, the undersigned villagers of Copelabhat by way of this complaint hereby brings to your kind notice as under:

1. That from 6/10/2008 transportation of mining ore from Cavrem, Maina and other villages via Ambaulim, Quepem road has started. That every day hundreds of mining trucks ply through our village. That all the mining trucks transporting the ore are not following the notification issued by the Directorate of Transport on 15/12/2007 and which has come into force on 01/01/2008 thereby laying guidelines for tucks transporting Mineral ore. The copy of the said notification is hereby annexed for your ready reference.

2. That as the mining trucks are loaded above the body level, the ore from the trucks get spillage on the road which causes nuisance to the two wheeler riders and other passer bys. That spillage of ore on the road is the main cause for dust pollution, which inturn causes health problems/hazards to us. We hereby kindly request you goodselfs to keep a watch on the overloading trucks and punish those who do not obeying the notification dated 15/12/07.

3. That from Ambaulim to Quepem, there are four High Schools and half a dozen primary schools in which around 3000 students study. That in the morning and in the noon that is from 7.30 AM to 8.30 AM and from 1.00 PM to 2.00 PM a number of school students who goes to attend the school passes on road and most of them goes by walking. That last year a number of accidents involving mining trucks has taken place on Quepem – Ambaulim road. The mining truck which plying on this route to have more trips drive the trucks in fast and reckless speed thereby endangering the life of people particularly of students. That in the interest of the school going students, we hereby kindly request your goodself to restrict the plying of the mining truck from 7.30 to 8.30 AM and from 1.00 PM to 2.00 PM and a notification to that effect be issued immediately.

4. We further kindly requesting your good self to act on our above relied grievances at an early date failing which we the villagers of Copelabhat shall be constrained to agitate our grievances by coming on the road and in the process any untoward incident takes place then your department shall be solely for the same.

Hope good sense will prevail and needful be done at an early date.”

South Goa collector was also served with reminder on 24th November 2008 after his office failed to respond in any manner.

“That by our complaint dated 7/11/2008 we have brought to your notice the hardship and health problems we face due to overloading of mining trucks.

Though almost 15 days has been passed since filing of the complaint your nor your subordinate office has done anything to prevent the overloading and to issue notification to prohibit the entry of mining truck between 1.00 PM and 2.00 PM and 7.30 AM to 8.30 AM from Quepem town.

That your intention to act firmly on our complaint has now constrained us and forced us to act. Now from the date of receipt of this reminder, we the villagers of Copelabhat at any movement will come on the road and any consequences that may take place, your department will be fully responsible for the same”

Clearly South Goa collector is guilty of purposefully neglecting Ambaulim villagers request and then supporting lathi charge on the villagers on 17th December 2008. GOAMAP demands immediate dismissal of South Goa Collector for his irresponsible statements in support of Police terror and mining terror combine on Ambaulim villagers.

Sebastian Rodrigues

No comments: