Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The corporate versus the villagers fight continued for the entire day and at 4.30 pm Sesa Goa were forced to retreat by withdrawing their machinery in action.
In the meanwhile Bicholim Court today 22 April 2009 to set aside the injunction against about 70 Advalpal villagers from entering Sesa Goa mines.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
With elections round the corner political manifestoes promising the goodies, which never be fulfilled, are rolling out by dozens, but don’t think these manifestoes are solely the domain of political parties!
Now the Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP) has come out with a manifesto to political parties on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections calling these for a debate to rescue the future of the State which, according to it, is being held to ransom by the mining industry.
GOAMAP, which is a citizen’s initiative composed of people directly affected by mining, has called for a comprehensive review of all mining leases in Goa. One-fourth (1/4) of the State (67,822) hectares of land is under mining leases that were granted by the Portuguese from 1929 to 1959, it claims.
It states that since then the population of the State has increased three times and as a result complete feasibility study on mining must be undertaken immediately.
GOAMAP has held that mining should be closed down in a phased manner beginning with eco-sensitive zones like forests, agriculture, people’s habitats, lakes, springs, ponds, rivers, wells and all other water bodies, dams etc.
It has proposed that mining leases should be terminated where people are protesting due to its ill effects. Places like Advalpal, Colamb, Rivona, Sirgao, Morpilla, Khola, Kudnem, Pali, Bicholim, Sattari, Surla, Mayem, Cavrem, Sulcorna, Sarvan an Korgao figure in the list.
It has also called for termination of mining leases in watershed areas and catchment areas of major dams like Selaulim, Opa an Assanora, supplying water for drinking, irrigation and industry.
GOAMAP has asked the political parties to confiscate wealth accumulated by mining companies in the last 50 years and from it create a special fund for the restoration of settlements where mining leases have been terminated.
The document demands the creation of a special fund from the confiscated wealth of mining companies to restore settlements in areas where mining leases have been terminated.
The abolition of private ownership in Goa’s mining sector and confiscation of wealth accumulated by mining companies over the past 50 years is one the demands made in a proposed manifesto by a citizens’ initiative in the state recently.
Known as the Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP), the citizens’ initiative has proposed the manifesto to political parties and the public to debate and rescue Goa from the ills of mining.
The manifesto demands the creation of a special fund from the confiscated wealth of mining companies to restore settlements in areas where mining leases have been terminated. The fund must also rehabilitate mining workers after the closure of the mines in greater interest of Goa, its water and its future generations, document states.
The manifesto demands the withdrawal of all police cases against those opposing the mining industry in Goa as well as a comprehensive ecological auditing of mining industry in Goa for its performance over the past 50 years.
Another demand on the manifesto is a comprehensive review of all mining leases in Goa. One-fourth of the State is bound by leases that were granted by the Portuguese colonial regime from 1929 to 1959. Since the population of Goa has trebled after that, a complete feasibility on mining in Goa must be undertaken immediately, the manifesto states.
The manifesto also demands a shutdown of mining in Goa in a planned manner beginning with eco-sensitive zones like forests, agriculture, horticulture, people’s habitat, lakes, springs and other water bodies.
It also demands the termination of mining leases where people protest its ill effects, such as Advalpal, Colamb, Rivona, Shirgao, Morpilla, Khola, Cudnem, Pali, Bicholim, Sattari, Surla, Mayem, Cavrem, Sulcorna, Sarvan and Korgao.
The manifesto also ask for the termination of mining leases in watershed areas and in catchment areas of major dams which supply water for drinking, irrigation and industry. These include Selaulim, Opa and Assanora as well as the western ghat’s sanctuaries, protected areas and their buffer zones, government forests and private forests.
Another demand is termination of mining leases in tribal and other villages of inhabitance and cancellation of all environmental clearances by the ministry of environment and forest, New Delhi.
Friday, April 17, 2009
1. Comprehensive review of all the mining leases in Goa. 1/4th of Goa that is 67,822 hectares of land is under mining leases that were granted by Portuguese Colonial regime from 1929 to 1959. Since then population of Goa has increased by three times. Complete feasibility on mining in Goa must be undertaken immediately.
2. Closedown of mining in Goa in phased manner beginning with eco-sensitive zones like forests, agriculture, horticulture, people’s habitats, lakes, springs, ponds, rivers, wells and all other variety of water bodies, dams etc.
3. Termination of mining leases where people are protesting due to its ill effects: Advalpal, Colamb, Rivona, Sirgao, Morpilla, Khola, Cudnem, Pali, Bicholim, Sattari, Surla, Mayem, Cavrem, Maina, Sulcorna, Sarvan, Korgao etc.
4. Termination of mining leases in Watershed areas of Goa.
5. Termination of mining leases in catchment areas of major dams supplying water for drinking, irrigation and industry i.e Selaulim, Opa and Assanora.
6. Termination of mining leases in the Western Ghats forests i.e. Sanctuaries, Protected areas and its buffer zones, Government Forests and Private forests.
7. Termination of mining leases in tribal and other people’s habitat villages.
8. Cancellation of all the Environmental Clearances by Ministry of Environment and Forest, New Delhi.
9. Abolition of private ownership in Goa’s mining sector.
10. Confiscation of wealth accumulated by mining companies over the past 50 years.
11. Creation of Special fund from the confiscated wealth from mining companies towards restoration of settlements with dignity in areas where mining leases in operations has been terminated. This fund also to provide rehabilitation to mining worker after closure of the mines in greater interest of Goa, its water and its future generations.
12. Withdrawal of all the police cases against those opposing mining industry in Goa.
13. Comprehensive ecological auditing of mining industry in Goa for its performance over the past 50 years.
14. Monthly Action Taken Report (ATR) by the Members of Parliament from Goa to be made available to Public and Press in Goa detailing the progress made in implementation of the above points.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
One cannot but express utter disgust at the stance of all political parties in Goa – national as well as regional – contesting the Lok Sabha elections on the crucial life-threatening problem confronting Goa: open-cast iron ore, manganese and bauxite mines. Even though the problem is common knowledge in Goa, learnt through the experience of more than half a century of open-cast mining, the political class – irrespective of whether they are right, centre or left –continues to betray the people of Goa in the most shameful manner.
It is well established by now that mining is Goa’s number one enemy, because besides destroying human and animal habitat and health, it is taking away the elixir of life everyday by drying up every possible water body – our springs, our wells, our ponds, our lakes, our rivulets – and every other source of water. Japan and China have undoubtedly benefited by sucking Goa dry. A few mining companies who have been into this dig-and-sell business have made thousands of crores of rupees in the process. And political parties are fighting shy of attacking the industry, since it provides them funding.The mining industry has succeeded in making Goa poorer and more dependent by kicking its belly (agriculture) and choking its throat (water). Mining companies all over Goa are having a field day due to the well-organised nexus between the political parties and the state machinery. A few days ago, the press in Goa highlighted the fact that mining companies in Goa are amongst the topmost contributors to the two big National Parties – the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
This explains why these political parties are allowing Goa to be bled dry in spite of being fully aware of the ground realities. The political compulsions that have evolved, due to funding from mining companies, ensure that they do not work to stop this, thus betraying the people of Goa. This explains why the BJP as well as the INC have never raised the issue of the mining industry as a major threat to Goa and its survival for the next generation.
Both the parties are in the midst of a blissful honeymoon with the mining companies. Otherwise why did the BJP’s Shripad Naik never open his mouth in Parliament regarding the mining threat in Goa and demand that the MoEF stop giving environmental clearances for open-cast iron ore mining in Goa? The same question needs to be answered by the INC’s Fransisco Sardinha. Mining in Goa does not even figure in his list of priorities, which is topped by legalising bullfights on account of the lucrative betting involved. He and his predecessor Churchill Alemao are both responsible for maintaining silence on the mining issue in Goa. To add insult to injury, Churchill Alemao’s minister brother, Joaquim Alemao, is in the mining business. No wonder then that Churchill could not raise his voice (even in Konkani) in Parliament against the mining trade in Goa, as the trade fetches crores of rupees to his family.
The INC has gifted Pernem feudal lord and party treasurer Jitendra Deshprapbhu to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) as its candidate. Deshprabhu has a personal interest in the bauxite mining trade through operations in Korgao, Pernem. Can the public expect anything from this man, whose family owns land in 23 of the 27 villages in Pernem taluka? I don’t expect anything in defence of Goa against mining from him. As treasurer of the INC for so many years, he certainly knows how much the political parties are dependent upon mining companies.
This has led to the grant of liberal environmental clearances by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF). The clearances granted for mining leases have so far crossed three hundred, and many more are in the pipeline. This is a huge exploitation of Goa, at the cost of future generations. Only a few people in the present generation are benefiting from mining in the short term, by operating as truck owners/drivers and workers. It is indeed a tragedy that political parties in Goa, especially the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Shiv Sena, refuse to understand and act firmly against mining. The Shiv Sena candidate for North Goa Upendra Gaonkar, for example, still believes that mining is the backbone of the Goan economy, even though annual contributions from mining to the State government in Goa barely cross Rs 20 crore, while the annual income by the mining industry is reportedly more than Goa’s state debt for the past 5 years!
The CPI in Goa is actually in a unique position to bring about the desired change for Goa in its present and future. The uniqueness of its position is due to a well-established network of the working class that is rife with huge possibilities. But the fear of antagonising a part of the working class has led the party to treat mining as a holy cow. The CPI too has thus betrayed the future generations of Goa.
The Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), though an interesting regional party, chooses to maintain silence when it comes to mining. This party, which is part of the ruling coalition at the state level, is also contesting the Lok Sabha elections. It tasted power in Goa for over decade and a half when post-Liberation Goa began its journey with independent India in the 1960s. The first chief minister, Dayanand Bandodkar of the MGP, himself owned mines; and so does the second chief minister, Bandodkar’s daughter Shashikala Kakodkar. No wonder the MGP continues to be shaky in its stand on the mining industry in Goa, and cannot even be expected to change its policies because power relations within the party are largely dominated by mining interests. Even though Goa bleeds due to the mining industry, the MGP shows no concern, nor can any be expected. One only hopes for a miracle to happen for a turnaround to take place in its position towards mining. But as of now its candidate for North Goa Pandurang Raut maintains a silence on the issue.
I have not checked what are the funding sources of United Goans’ Democratic Party (UGDP) from the mining industry, but it is yet to explain to the public the nexus between the UGDP and Goa’s Dempo mining company that is involved in takeover of tribal land for mining purposes in Jharkand, where it has an MLA in Manoharpur. The UGDP’s candidate for South Goa Mathany Saldanha is vocal about a number of issues, particularly those related to coastal people like the fishermen, but he has performed poorly when it comes to mining. The press reported that he is not in favour of renewal of mining leases by the central government. While this is a welcome position, it seems to be only an election trick without any basis whatsoever. A number of mines have already got their mining leases renewed, and they have even declared so in the newspapers.
The message to all the candidates contesting the elections is that the bulk of open-cast mining in Goa is no doubt ‘legal’, but is yet destructive, exploitative and life-threatening. Hence, ‘legal’ as well as ‘illegal’ mining in Goa are unwanted intruders that must be forced out of the door before they complete their mission of swallowing the entire state of Goa. Reluctance by political parties contesting Lok Sabha elections to heed this message means that the contesting political parties have become irrelevant to life in Goa.
Herald 15 April 2009, Panaji.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Sesa Goa's mining activities in Advalpal
Sesa Goa's mining dumps have reached at a very threatening stage: it is covering what used to be traditional pond where cattle used to bath round the year. First this pond dried up due to mining and now this space itself is being filled up through mining dumps.
Mining trucks however don't care for speed breakers and they continue thier reckless ways. Here is how trucks regulate thier speed after dashing against each other.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Kalne's brave protesters has been booked under sections 144 and 302 by the State administration. Due to direct impact on Goa is become a compulsion for people of Goa to keep a close watch offer support and solidarity with struggling Kalne people. Please keep yourself updated on Kalne People's struggle against mining at the following links: http://kalneflame.blogspot.com/
You may write to express your support and commitment to the struggle at email: email@example.com
Monday, April 6, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Shri John Fernandes,
r/o. H.No.229, Copelabhat,
The National Human Right Commission,
Sub : Complaint against, then P.I. of Quepem Shri Santosh Dessai, ASI of Quepem Prakash K. Gaonkar, Head Constable of Quepem Arvind Nagekar Buckle No.3100, then Dy-Collector of Quepem Venancio Furtado for violating my and other villagers human rights.
I the undersigned hereby lodge my complaint against, then P.I. of Quepem Shri Santosh Dessai, ASI of Quepem Shri Prakash K. Gaonkar, Head Constable of Quepem Shri Arvind Nagekar Buckle No.3100, then Dy-Collector of Quepem Shri Venancio Furtado for violating my human rights, which is as under:
That the Villagers of Copelabhat, Deao Quepem of which I a part, came on the road to protest against the problem of dust pollution that is being faced due to the operation of mining truck through our village, as all the authorities to whom representation were made failed to act.
That on 27/11/2008 first time the villagers came on the road and blocked only the mining truck. On that day in presence of Quepem MLA , then Dy-Collector of Quepem Venancio Furtado assured the villagers that by 15 of December 2008 a notification will be issued regarding speed limit and prohibition of entry for mining truck during certain period of school hours. He also assured us that from 28/11/2008 no mining truck from Colomba and Sulcorna will be allowed to operate via Quepem and the Notification issued by the Director of Transport dated 15/12/2007 under No.D.Tpt/EST/1685/P.F.II/2007 will be strictly implemented. However nothing fruitful was done by the then Dy-collector Shri Venancio Furtado.
That on 2/12/2008 we have written a non-Compliance letter to the Dy-Collector of Quepem, copy of which was submitted to the Collector of South Goa, Quepem MLA bringing to their notice about the non compliance of assurances given to us on 27/11/2008.
As problem of dust pollution continued unabated and assurances given to us on 27/11/2008 complied with the villagers again on 17/12/2008 came on the road. The villagers blocked the road only for mining truck. All the other traffic were moving smoothly. At around 9.00 AM Quepem police appeared at the spot . As soon as police appeared the police headed by ASI Arvind Nageker and the truck driver forcefully tried to push the agitators even some truck driver started their truck and started moving their truck , however as the villagers were in large numbers the police and the truck drivers did not succeeded.
At around 9.30 am P.I Santosh Dessai appeared at the spot followed by Quepem Mamlatdar Sudin Nato.
An armed police were brought at 11.45 PM along with them appeared then Dy-Collector Venancio Furtado.
That after a deliberate discussion by the P.I. Santosh Dessai and Mamlatdar Sudin Nato with the villagers, the villagers withdraw their agitation and allowed the truck and other transport to move and infact 15 to 20 truck have moved. Meantime the Quepem police headed by Quepem PI Santosh Dessai instigated the villagers. The police then manhandled some of the villagers including ladies and forcefully arrest them including women. The then Dy-Collector of Quepem Venancio Furtado who was present at the site without having a word with the villagers order larthy charge on the agitating villagers, when infact there was no need do so as the villagers have already withdrawn their agitation .
The police mercilessly beat up the villagers including aged women and school children . The beating was so severe that four larthys/batten of the police were broken which were later on collected by us and where produce before press . One of our agitator Anthon Jose Fernandes who ran for rescue in the house of his godfather, was pulled out of the house and was then beaten up in an inhuman manner so also one Franky Rebello was beaten up in the same fashion. In the larthy charge dozens of villagers were injured. Addressing to press, the larthy charge incident was denied by the P.I. Santosh Dessai and Dy-Collector Venancio Furtado. However the then Collector of South Goa Shri G.P.Naik through a press report dated 19/12/2009 has admitted and justified larthy charge on the villagers .
On that day in respect of the said incident Quepem Police arrested around 7 villagers/agitators and booked another five including against me which offence were registered under Cr. No.86/08 dated 17/12/2009 under section 143, 147, 341, 504, 504(ii), 353 r/w. 149 of IPC. The police then registered a false and distorted crime being Cr. No.87/08 against me under section 307 of IPC though no any such incident had been taken place.
The falsities of police are clear from the fact that in the say filed by the police the bail application moved on 17/12/2009 in respect of Cr.No.86/07 which say was filed at around 7.00PM on 17/12/2008 the police stated that from the commission of offence in cr. No.86/08 myself and some other are absconding.
The police who have registered false complaint against me and other villagers with a malafide intention , which is apparently motivated and to keep the villagers at bay from fighting for our right to life guaranteed under the constitution.
That the dust pollution caused by the operation of mining truck through our village has been aggravated/compounded and is continued unabated. The authorities failed to do the needful in spite of repeated complaints. The pollution is so severe sometime even we find it difficult to breathe. The consequences of it are that our children are constantly falling sick.
I hereby kindly request your good self to investigate into the matter and punish those officer who are guilty of violating our human right or of misusing their power.
( John Fernandes )
I, Shri John Fernandes, son of late Vincent Fernandes, age 38 years, married, advocate , resident of H.No.229, Copelabhat, Deao, Quepem-Goa, do hereby state on oath that the fact stated herein above are true to my own knowledge and no part of it is false.
Solemly affirmed at Quepem this April 2009
1. Video C.D. of the entire incident of 17/12/2008.
2. Say of the police dated 17/12/08 filed in bail application.
3. News paper cuttings.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Date: April 01, 2009
The Director General of Police,
Panaji - Goa.
Superintendent of Police,
The National Human Rights Commission,
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi,
Fax No. 23384863
Sub: Complaint against the P.I Devendra Gad of Quepem Police Station for harassment
Today April 01, 2009 I was called at Quepem Police Station at 10.00 hours via call letter from Quepem Police Inspector dated 30/03/2009 for an inquiry with regard to my complaint dated 23rd March 2009 with subject Complaints against the P.I Devendra Gad and other policemen at Quepem Police Station for assault and harrasment.
In order to attend the inquiry I went to the Police Station today at 11.00 am. On arrival Quepem Police Inspector Devendra Gad humiliated me with the following verbal uttering:
1. He was referring to my complaint against PI Devendra Gad dated 23rd March 2009 and other Policemen at Quepem police station. He was angry that I dared to complaint against the police officer for assault and harassment.
2. He asked me if I know to read English with loud pitch voice with intention to frighten me. He continued his rest of communications with loud pitched voice.
3. PI Devendra Gad told me that he is not scared of complaints being filed against him. Told me to go ahead and complain against him for 20 more times. He further told me that all the higher ups in the Police department in Goa are well connected to him and my complaints will be futile and will never be entertained by the police department.
4. "If you complain against me then I will arrest you under NSA (National Security Act) and will let you rot inside the jail without bail" PI Devendra Gad warned me. He further promised that till he is in authority at Quepem Police station he will not let me live in peace. He will use police powers bestowed on him to harass me to till the last.
5. PI Gad said that he being the Police officer has all the powers under the law to make my life miserable with deliberate harassment.
6. He further stated that he will arrest me under the numerous false cases filed against me by mining company because I stand in defense of my village of Colomba, Sanguem.
7. When I asked him as to why my complaints and my fellow villagers complaints against mining company has not led to any arrests of any of the officers of the mining company. This question of mine he refused to answer instead used very impolite words and told police personnel at the Police Station to force me out of his cabin.
Please investigate and take immediate action against PI Devendra Gad for his gross abuse of power and authority.
1. Gawda, Kunbi, Velip & Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED), Panaji – Goa.
2. Goa Bachao Abhiyan (GBA), Porvorim – Goa.
3. Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP), Siolim – Goa.
4. Ganv Ghar Rakhan Manch (GGRM), Benaulim – Goa.
5. Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), Panaji – Goa.
6. Goa Foundation (GF), Mapusa - Goa.