Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mining Companies are determined to put a new carpet of dust over Quepem - Ambaulim road

The mining Industries transporting Iron ore via Quepem are determines to put a new carpet of dust over the newly Quepem Ambaulim hot mixed road. Thanks to the law enforcing authorities like Assistant Director of Transport Quepem, Dy-Supritendent of Police Quepem, Dy-Collector, Executive magistrate under whose nose the transport is going on.
Villagers of Quepem claims that spillage of ore from the truck takes place due to overloading. The spillage of ore cause health risk particularly to two wheeler riders as the ore particles lends into eyes.
Meanwhile opposition to transportation of mineral ore via Quepem is gaining momentum. The Quepem Bazarkars and other villagers of Quepem on Monday held a meeting with Quepem MLA and discuss about the problem faced by them due to operation of mining transport via Quepem. They brought to the notice of the MLA that every norm is violated by the mining companies while transporting the ore and no action is taken by the officials. In the same meeting the Bazarkar informed the MLA that they will not allow transportation of mineral ore via Quepem town from the next mining season.
John Fernandes

Monday, May 25, 2009

Appeal to contribute towards expenses of People's Tribunal

As you may be already aware that Gawada, Kunbi, Velip & Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED) is organising "People's Tribunal" in order to highlight continues alienation of tribal homelands in Goa and urgent need to restore them back to the community.

Tribunal will be held on 30th and 31st may 2009 at Menezes Braganza Hall with four member Jury headed by a retired High Court Judge Justice Hospet Suresh. Panel of Experts will assist him on various land related matters in Goa.

GAKUVED appeals to the members of Public to financially contribute towards the expenses for this very important activity for GAKUVED community. Those willing to contribute may deposit their contributions in the name of Gawada, Kunbi, Velip &Dhangar Federtion, Panaji- Goa Ac no. 13809 of panjim Branch of Indian Overseas Bank. or pay the same at GAKUVED Office, New Goa Stores, Opp Cafe Bhonsle, Panaji, Goa. Finance is required for the preparation of Dossiers and its photocopies, Hall charges, to provide food and refreshment for two days.


Durgadas Gaonkar

One more sad day for Goa: Goa Police Protection for mining company

Today is another sad day for Goa. Sesa Goa mining company has been given Police protection to carry on with mining activity in Advalpal village. Protection is in the wake of stiff opposition from the Advalpal villagers in this village of North Goa's Bicholim Taluka.

Mining is ruing Goa's villages and it is shame that Goa Police is providing protection to this industry that is threatening to transform Goa into a desert by drying up its water bodies. And all this is possible due to huge amounts of donations to ruling and opposition political parties in Goa. Goa, its environment - water bodies and land is being slaughtered to benefit British Vedanta owned Sesa Goa. Once India was ruled by another British company known as East India Company and people of India revolted against it. Today we have another british company in league with several Indian companies exploiting this State of Goa on the west coast of India. And it has our Goa Police as its loyal ally. Disgusting state of affairs indeed!

Sebastian Rodrigues

Sunday, May 24, 2009

GOAMAP Condemns arrest and detention of Advalpal anti-mining protestors

Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP) strongly condemns Goa Police at Bicholim Police Station for arbitrary arrests and detention of Shamsunder Naik and Vijay Pandluskar of Advalpal, Bicholim.

These two Advalpal villagers were called to the Bicholim police station for inquiry on May 20, in connection for inquiry under IPC section 149 for an incident at Sesa Goa mines on May 10, 2009 when Sesa Goa mines work was stopped by the Advalpal villagers. then, shockingly Police officer on duty Terence Vaz instead took the two in police custody under IPC section 151 and detained them in Bicholim Police Station for anticipated Peace on mines.

GOAMAP questions the logic of arresting the villagers who are in the middle of the fight to defend their village from mining companies - Sesa Goa, Trimurthy, Fomentos and Salgaoncars - threatening the water bodies supplying water for drinking and agriculture purpose.

GOAMAP demands action against the police officer Terence Vaz for behaving like an agent of the mining company - British Vedanta owned Sesa Goa. It is high time that Goa Police stop being dictated and directed by mining companies against people protesting mining so that Goa does not suffer water shortages because of greed of few mining companies. Goa Police and citizens must work together to stop legal as well as illegal mining in Goa so that future generations find Goa safe to live in.


Sebastian Rodrigues

Wendell confronts Sujay, and sends him packing!

Eyewitness reports are coming in from various sources about an incident that occurred last night (May 07, 2009) at the Times of India First Anniversary party at the Hotel Mariott. Apparently designer Wendell Rodricks was involved in a verbal confrontation with PRO Sujay Gupta and station-head Ethel D'Costa which led to the latter two making a hasty exit from the party.
Onlookers say that the trouble started when Sujay trooped in with Ethel towards the end of the party, post dinner, and in passing said something to Wendell, who retaliated by saying something to the effect, "I don't speak to, or mix with, people like you who sell Goa and Goans." Sujay apparently walked off to the other side of the party in a huff, with Ethel in tow.

Wendell was asked by some people about his comment and he took great pains to explain, to those who didnt know, about Sujay's exact involvement with the Timblos and Fomento and Cidade de Goa and how he was the spin doctor who had been hired to make their illegal and unethical activities look clean.

As the party progressed someone informed Wendell that Sujay wasn't even invited for the party and had just tagged along with Ethel. Sujay on the other hand seemed unconcerned about not being welcome and was all over the place socialising with Ethel.

Litte later Wendell went up to Sujay and told him that he was a backstabber and had no business mixing around with Goans. Wendell's partner Jerome joined in the argument by bringing up the fact that Sujay, on behalf of his employers, had filed a frivolous Rs. 500 crore case in a Calcutta court. Wendell too was quite angry by now and was shouting loudly. Sujay and Ethel were trying to pacify them but it didn't work and they kept on firing Sujay and even Ethel for having brought this 'slimeball' for the party. They accused Ethel of being 'two-faced'.

Wendell told them both to get out which they eventually did, with theTOI editor leading them out. There were lots of cheers when they then left, mortified, and even some clapping.
This is what I gathered from various sources that were present at the party. I hope someone who was present will write a more accurate report. It is a good thing as I see it. People like Sujay who are paid mercenaries for the people who are raping Goa should be told that we are not going to take any more crap. My hats off to Wendell and Jerome for doing the right thing. Sujay is paid to hide dirty deeds. He should be exposed and socially ostracised.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sesa Goa repulsed again in Advalpal today

Close to the heels of arrests of Shamsuner Naik and Vijay Vijay Pandluskar by Bicholim Police at the instance of Sesa Goa mining company yesterday, the company today again tried to dig the village space of cremetorium and water pond. The Sesa Goa mining company officials and labourers were chased away from the site by the villagers.

The modus operandi of the mining company is very clear : Release the Bicholim police on the Advalpal villagers and then dig up the village for Iron Ore. The battle is on. it remains to be seen as to how long Goa Police is going to function as the lackey of the notorious mining companies. of course things can go on indefinably as Sesa Goa has paid enough on record in their annual report: Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) Rs. 28 lakhs, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rs. 28 lakhs, Save Goa Front (SGF) Rs.5 Lakhs, Maharastrawadi Gomatak Party (MGP) Rs.5 lakhs, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Rs. 5 Lakhs and Shiv Sena Rs.1 Lakh. This will ensure that none of these Political Parties will speak up for Advalpal or any other village while mining company goes on its rampaging mission. Advalpal can become a mining pit. Who cares? Goa government is ruled from the mining pits - ruling parties as well as the opposition!

Sebastian Rodrigues

Advalpal anti-mining protestors released

Two anti-mining activists from Advalpal, Bicholim - Shamsunder Naik and Vijay Pandluskar who were arrested afternoon were released from Bicholim Police Lock up at night at 9.00 pm.

Overwhelming response in calling up Bicholim Police Station in support of the anti-Protestors is deeply appriciated.

Mining must stop if Goa to have water security in future.

People Tribunal on Adivasi homelands

Gawada, Kunbi, Velip & Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED) is organising "People's Tribunal" on Tribal land issues in Goa on 30th and 31st May, 2009 at Menezes Braganza Hall, Panaji - Goa. This Tribunal will have a jury headed by retired High Court Judge.

The objective behind organising this "People's Tribunal is to bring in focus various dimensions of land questions affecting tribal population of Goa. Some of the land questions includes Khazan and Agricultural land, Communidade land, Forest land including Government Forest and Private Forest, Kulagar land, Mokaso land, Tribal land under the control of the religious institutions, and Kumeri land. This also includes the agricultural land reclaimed from the river Mhadei called 'Puran Sheti' and the land in possession and out of possession of tribal people. Also includes the grazing and settlement land of the tribal people.

There will be hearing for two days on the above subject. GAKUVED appeals all the tribal communities to come forward to file their statements in support of their claim on the aforesaid land in their possession by 25th of May, 2009.

They can contact the undersigned in the office of GAKUVED at New Goa Stores, Opp. Cafe Bhonsle, Panaji - Goa between 4.30 to 8.30 pm or Sri Seby Rodrigues on Mobile 9923336347.


(Durgandas Gaonkar)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Two Advalpal anti-mining activists arrrested at Bicholim

Two anti-mining activists from Advalpal, Bicholim - Shamsunder Naik and Vijay Pandluskar are arrested today at Bicholim Police Station for protesting against Sesa Goa mines on May 10, 2009 under section 151 - (Breach of Peach and unlawful assembly). Call up Bicholim Police Station to demand their immediate release. Phone at Bicholim Police station : 08322362233.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Two anti-mining activist in Sirgao arrested, released

Suresh Babani Gaonkar and Dhruvanjay V. Harmalkar were arrested by Bicholim Police Sub Inspector Terence Vaz and head costable Pradeep Kubal on May 10 2009 for protesting against Chowgule mining company plying its mining trucks through their property. They were picked by from Sirgao village in North Goa at around 11.30 am without serving any call letters. The arrests came 4 days after the Sirgao Zatra festival in the village with scarce water due the giant mining companies sucking their water sources dry.

Once taken into police custody they were put into police lock up. They were not served any meals and were starved till they were bailed out at around 5 pm on the same day.

So much for protesting against the marauding mining industry. Sirgao's village wells, springs has gone dry due to mining while its agricultural lands are lying fallow due to unavailability of water for paddy cultivation. And Bicholim DySp Bousset D'Silva came up with a suggestion that these fields be converted into the parking place for the vehicles! NEERI report has declared that mining activities are responsible for downfall of 80 acres of paddy fields due to depletion of groundwater.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Canacona tribals allege violation of their rights

7 May 2009, 0631 hrs IST, Ajit Painginkar, TNN

POINGUINIM: The denial of the rights of tribals by forest officials as specified under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers ( recognition of forest rights) Act, 2006, has sparked a controversy in the forest area of Cancona taluka.

For 34 families dwelling in the Cotigao wildlife sanctuary, the struggle for livilihood has been going on since the last 40 years. The proposal of their rehabilitation to Dabhel is stuck in red-tapism. Their right to catch crabs, pick mushrooms or collect firewood is being denied by the forest department, and this the locals say, is a clear "violation of the law".

"The forest officals have closed the traditional access to the sanctuary. They have also blocked the area where the locals staged traditional dramas. Marle-Tirval residents are harassed without any reason," said Narayn Gaonkar, a resident of Marle.

"The law provides that there be a ban on entry to the sanctuary within a radius of 10km from its border. Those found collecting firewood from within this distance are taken to task by the forest officers. Villagers are not even allowed to graze animals in the area. The governement has not rehabiliated us either," says Mahadev Goankar, a Cotigao resident.

According to another resident of the area, Mhablu Velip, forest officials badger the women by snatching their koitas and threaten to tie them to trees. Even last month, two persons involved in the liquor trade at the Hattipaul check-post were allegedly beaten up by the forest officials.

Anand Mestri, round forest officer, however stated that the forest department has always protected the rights of those staying in the Cotigao wildlife sanctuary. Action by forest officials is taken only against outsiders who enter the area and try to take advantage, he added.

BJP MLA Ramesh Tawadkar has thrown his weight behind the tribals and criticised the government for not recognising the rights of scheduled tribes and other forest dwellers. He said that the law provides for the recognition of various rights of those staying in forest areas. The Velip community was given the scheduled tribes status in 2005. The community members who dwell in forest areas are yet to get their legitimate rights, he added.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Anchorage Declaration

24 April 2009

From 20-24 April, 2009, Indigenous representatives from the Arctic, North America, Asia, Pacific, Latin America, Africa, Caribbean and Russia met in Anchorage, Alaska for the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change. We thank the Ahtna and the Dena’ina Athabascan Peoples in whose lands we gathered.

We express our solidarity as Indigenous Peoples living in areas that are the most vulnerable to the impacts and root causes of climate change. We reaffirm the unbreakable and sacred connection between land, air, water, oceans, forests, sea ice, plants, animals and our human communities as the material and spiritual basis for our existence.

We are deeply alarmed by the accelerating climate devastation brought about by unsustainable development. We are experiencing profound and disproportionate adverse impacts on our cultures, human and environmental health, human rights, well-being, traditional livelihoods, food systems and food sovereignty, local infrastructure, economic viability, and our very survival as Indigenous Peoples.

Mother Earth is no longer in a period of climate change, but in climate crisis. We therefore insist on an immediate end to the destruction and desecration of the elements of life.

Through our knowledge, spirituality, sciences, practices, experiences and relationships with our traditional lands, territories, waters, air, forests, oceans, sea ice, other natural resources and all life, Indigenous Peoples have a vital role in defending and healing Mother Earth. The future of Indigenous Peoples lies in the wisdom of our elders, the restoration of the sacred position of women, the youth of today and in the generations of tomorrow.

We uphold that the inherent and fundamental human rights and status of Indigenous Peoples, affirmed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), must be fully recognized and respected in all decision-making processes and activities related to climate change. This includes our rights to our lands, territories, environment and natural resources as contained in Articles 25–30 of the UNDRIP. When specific programs and projects affect our lands, territories, environment and natural resources, the right of Self Determination of Indigenous Peoples must be recognized and respected, emphasizing our right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent, including the right to say “no”. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreements and principles must reflect the spirit and the minimum standards contained in UNDRIP.

Calls for Action

1. In order to achieve the fundamental objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), we call upon the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC to support a binding emissions reduction target for developed countries (Annex 1) of at least 45% below 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 95% by 2050. In recognizing the root causes of climate change, participants call upon States to work towards decreasing dependency on fossil fuels. We further call for a just transition to decentralized renewable energy economies, sources and systems owned and controlled by our local communities to achieve energy security and sovereignty.

In addition, the Summit participants agreed to present two options for action which were each supported by one or more of the participating regional caucuses. These were as follows:

A. We call for the phase out of fossil fuel development and a moratorium on new fossil fuel developments on or near Indigenous lands and territories.

B. We call for a process that works towards the eventual phase out of fossil fuels, without infringing on the right to development of Indigenous nations.

2. We call upon the Parties to the UNFCCC to recognize the importance of our Traditional Knowledge and practices shared by Indigenous Peoples in developing strategies to address climate change. To address climate change we also call on the UNFCCC to recognize the historical and ecological debt of the Annex 1 countries in contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. We call on these countries to pay this historical debt.

3. We call on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and other relevant institutions to support Indigenous Peoples in carrying out Indigenous Peoples’ climate change assessments.

4. We call upon the UNFCCC’s decision-making bodies to establish formal structures and mechanisms for and with the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples. Specifically we recommend that the UNFCCC:

a. Organize regular Technical Briefings by Indigenous Peoples on Traditional Knowledge and climate change;

b. Recognize and engage the International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change and its regional focal points in an advisory role;

c. Immediately establish an Indigenous focal point in the secretariat of the UNFCCC;

d. Appoint Indigenous Peoples’ representatives in UNFCCC funding mechanisms in consultation with Indigenous Peoples;

e. Take the necessary measures to ensure the full and effective participation of Indigenous and local communities in formulating, implementing, and monitoring activities, mitigation, and adaptation relating to impacts of climate change.

5. All initiatives under Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) must secure the recognition and implementation of the human rights of Indigenous Peoples, including security of land tenure, ownership, recognition of land title according to traditional ways, uses and customary laws and the multiple benefits of forests for climate, ecosystems, and Peoples before taking any action.

6. We challenge States to abandon false solutions to climate change that negatively impact Indigenous Peoples’ rights, lands, air, oceans, forests, territories and waters. These include nuclear energy, large-scale dams, geo-engineering techniques, “clean coal”, agro-fuels, plantations, and market based mechanisms such as carbon trading, the Clean Development Mechanism, and forest offsets. The human rights of Indigenous Peoples to protect our forests and forest livelihoods must be recognized, respected and ensured.

7. We call for adequate and direct funding in developed and developing States and for a fund to be created to enable Indigenous Peoples’ full and effective participation in all climate processes, including adaptation, mitigation, monitoring and transfer of appropriate technologies in order to foster our empowerment, capacity-building, and education. We strongly urge relevant United Nations bodies to facilitate and fund the participation, education, and capacity building of Indigenous youth and women to ensure engagement in all international and national processes related to climate change.

8. We call on financial institutions to provide risk insurance for Indigenous Peoples to allow them to recover from extreme weather events.

9. We call upon all United Nations agencies to address climate change impacts in their strategies and action plans, in particular their impacts on Indigenous Peoples, including the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). In particular, we call upon all the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other relevant United Nations bodies to establish an Indigenous Peoples’ working group to address the impacts of climate change on food security and food sovereignty for Indigenous Peoples.

10. We call on United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to conduct a fast track assessment of short-term drivers of climate change, specifically black carbon, with a view to initiating negotiation of an international agreement to reduce emission of black carbon.

11. We call on States to recognize, respect and implement the fundamental human rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the collective rights to traditional ownership, use, access, occupancy and title to traditional lands, air, forests, waters, oceans, sea ice and sacred sites as well as to ensure that the rights affirmed in Treaties are upheld and recognized in land use planning and climate change mitigation strategies. In particular, States must ensure that Indigenous Peoples have the right to mobility and are not forcibly removed or settled away from their traditional lands and territories, and that the rights of Peoples in voluntary isolation are upheld. In the case of climate change migrants, appropriate programs and measures must address their rights, status, conditions, and vulnerabilities.

12. We call upon states to return and restore lands, territories, waters, forests, oceans, sea ice and sacred sites that have been taken from Indigenous Peoples, limiting our access to our traditional ways of living, thereby causing us to misuse and expose our lands to activities and conditions that contribute to climate change.

13. In order to provide the resources necessary for our collective survival in response to the climate crisis, we declare our communities, waters, air, forests, oceans, sea ice, traditional lands and territories to be “Food Sovereignty Areas,” defined and directed by Indigenous Peoples according to customary laws, free from extractive industries, deforestation and chemical-based industrial food production systems (i.e. contaminants, agro-fuels, genetically modified organisms).

14. We encourage our communities to exchange information while ensuring the protection and recognition of and respect for the intellectual property rights of Indigenous Peoples at the local, national and international levels pertaining to our Traditional Knowledge, innovations, and practices. These include knowledge and use of land, water and sea ice, traditional agriculture, forest management, ancestral seeds, pastoralism, food plants, animals and medicines and are essential in developing climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, restoring our food sovereignty and food independence, and strengthening our Indigenous families and nations.

We offer to share with humanity our Traditional Knowledge, innovations, and practices relevant to climate change, provided our fundamental rights as intergenerational guardians of this knowledge are fully recognized and respected. We reiterate the urgent need for collective action.

Agreed by consensus of the participants in the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change, Anchorage Alaska, April 24th 2009

Barges break fishing stakes

By Babluis Pereira, Pomburpa in Herald, May 05, 2009.

Mining activity has picked up, and iron-ore laden barges are navigating in Goa’s inland waterways round the clock. They do not follow the rules, and no checks are conducted by the concerned authority. There is a hue and cry among traditional fishing stake operators that barges are damaging fishing stakes from the Penha de France Church up to Calvim and Sirsaim loading jetty, causing them heavy losses. During Portuguese rule, strict night patrolling was conducted by the office of the Captain of Ports. Barges were checked to verify if they had search lights, licences of crews, and barge documents. There was a heavy penalty, and no such untoward incidents occurred. Now, in Democracy Raj, nobody fears anybody.

Earlier, mine owners used to run their own barges, the barge crew was all of Goan origin, and they knew the routes. Now, mining companies use hired barges, the crews are all outstation, and lack knowledge of Goa’s inland waters. The main problem at night is that the barge tandels drink, relax in their cabins, and entrust the helm to inexperienced khalasis who, due to lack of experience, run over stakes even when a light is tied to them!

Damaged fishing stakes are still lying non-operational. Fishermen fear that if they sink new stakes spending thousands of rupees, they may get run over once again. The victims have knocked the doors of the Fisheries Minister, the Director of Fisheries and the Captain of Ports, but nobody is willing to give a patient ear. One even said that only if they provided the barge number could they take action. Do they expect fishing stakes operators to set up powerful searchlights and sit up all night with pen and paper to write down the barge number?

The problem is highlighted every season before the concerned authority, that the barges are destroying the traditional fishermen’s livelihood. What measures have the authorities taken? Have they at least published a warning for barge operators in the English and Marathi newspapers? It shows that the Aam Admi government has no regard for the people, and only protects the interests of the mining lobby.

Monday, May 4, 2009

On how Sesa Goa funds Goa Political Parties

Take hold of Vedanta owned Sesa Goa mining company's 2007-2008 annual report published in May 2008, then turn to page 132 to know how Sesa Goa has funded Goa's Political Parties.

Here it is how: Goa Pradesh Congress Committee and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was funded with Rs. 28 lakh each. The three parties namely Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), and Save Goa Front received Rs. 5 lakh each. While Shiv Sena was given Rs. 1 lakh.

This is how the Political Parties in Goa function as extended arm of the mining companies. Did you hear any of these parties even whispering about Goa's mining tragedy that is turning Goa into desert with drying up of its water bodies? Sesa Goa is one of the major stakeholders of Goa's mining extraction. It owns around dozen mines and is acquiring the mines of other companies operating in Goa.

Sebastian Rodrigues and Roger Moody

Saturday, May 2, 2009

On how Sesa Goa funds Goa Political Parties

Take hold of Vedanta owned Sesa Goa mining company's 2007-2008 annual report published in May 2008, then turn to page 132 to know how Sesa Goa has funded Goa's Political Parties. Here it is how:

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was funded with Rs. 28 lakh each. The three parties namely Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), and Save Goa Front received Rs. 5 lakh each. While Shiv Sena was given Rs. 1 lakh.

This is how the Political Parties in Goa function as extended arm of the mining companies. Did you hear any of these parties even whispering about Goa's mining tragedy that is turning Goa into desert with drying up of its water bodies? Sesa Goa is one of the major stakeholders of Goa's mining extraction. It owns around dozen mines and is acquiring the mines of other companies operating in Goa.

Sebastian Rodrigues and Roger Moody