Friday, November 13, 2009

Syngenta's disaster mock drill foiled, company told to pack off from the Dulapi village

It all began out of blue at 2.45 pm today November 13 2009 - on the eve of Children's day in India - afternoon with the blowing of loud siren from the Pesticides plant at Dulapi, Corlim in Goa's Tiswadi taluka. Siren blew for 15 minutes. Then at 3.00 pm Goa Police accompanied by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) arrived in four Sumo Jeeps and one CRPF bus and straight away headed into the houses of the villagers. Then began ordering women and children to get into the bus. As the bus was being filled up the spread into the entire village and people gathered and blocked the bus from moving away with women and children on board.

Mamlatdar of Tiswadi got into verbal clash with the adamant villagers. He was questioned as to where women and children are being taken. He disclose that it is mock drill for disaster management. To this villagers got infuriated and asked as to who ordered this action. Mamlatdar said that it is a deputy collector based in Panjim. Then villagers demanded that deputy collector be called to meet the villagers. Then, Deputy collector Shabaji Shetye turned up in Dulapi. He was given hostile response when he ordered the villagers to get out from the road and let bus proceed ahead to an unknown destination with women and children in it. Villagers refused to move away. Women and children got out of the bus. Shabaji Shetye was grilled on the methodology of conducting the mock drill. CRPF jawans was told to shut up and stay away from the dispute. They obliged. Deputy collector then was asked as to why villagers were not informed about the mock drill to which he expressed surprise.

Deputy collector was told that villagers are happy to die if the Syngenta leaks and the villagers are opposed to any disaster management mock drills. Villagers told the Deputy collector and high ranking police officials present to supervise the mock drill that the demand of the villagers is that Syngenta be shut down and the people's agricultural land taken to set up this Swiss pesticides plant 40 years ago - then known as Ciba of India limited - be handed over back to Mangado and Dulapi villagers in Corlim Panchayat.

Deputy collector understood the situation, apologized to the villagers and only then villagers allowed the CRPF bus to get out the village.

Sebastian Rodrigues


Dr. S. Banerji said...

It seems to me that you have some influence over the villagers. Mock drills benefit the villagers not Syngenta. It is not realistic to expect a leading international company to vacate land after 40 years. I request you to use your good offices to promote pesticide safety in the best interests of the community. Please bear in mind that there will be no time for explanations and persuasion in the tragic event of a real emergency.

MAND said...

What is your relationship with Syngenta? Are you an employee? If yes, then holding what position? Where is your location?

Shweta Narayan said...

Mr. Banerji,
let me tell you that such mock drills are Only useful when the community is involved. Community safety beings with the industry having the basic honesty of sharing what goes on inside the factory and this "leading" multinational does not have the minimum integrity to even come out clean to its neighbours about its operations. Tragic events are bound to happen in such situations and Syngenta and only Syngenta would be solely responsible for it. As for your statement that "one cannot expect a leading international company to vacate land after 40 years" I would just say you should go back to school and take another lesson on Indian history, as we have forced the British Empire to vacate our country after 200 years, Syngenta is nothing as compared!!

Miguel said...

Pesticides benefit nobody in the long run. The pesticides we use today are actually spin-offs of Chemical warfare. Chlorinated hydro carbons are from World War 1, Organo phosphorus are from World War 2 and Fernoxone is one half of AGENT ORANGE of the Vietnam War.

The massive interest in Organic Farming is a positive indicator of user disatisfaction. The suicides of the cotton farmers in Vidharba and Andhra Pradesh are the negative indicators. Ironically, many farmers rendered bankrupt by the pesticide use , use pesticides to commit suicide.

03 December, 2009, marks the 25th anniversary of what corporate social responisibility means to the pesticide industry in India. The day is being commemorated world-wide as NO PESTICIDE DAY.

Do I need to say more?

Mog asundi


MAND said...

Mr. Banerji be frank enough to disclose your identity and relationship with the Syngenta then comment.
For your information let me tell you that our five generations have came up in this village of Dhulapi and Mangado. The last generatio have opposed this company at its initial stage at the time of its inception. Now the present generation is also strongly opposing this company and will continue to oppose till the company vacate the land and restore the same to the villagers. Mind you we will not vacate our village at any cost at any emmergency which will be caused by your leading international company. Rather we will die than leave our village. We don't require any mock drill and we will not support the same anyway. It is your leading international company to vacate the land and not the villagers of Dhulapi and Mangado.
Mr. Banerji I request you to use your influence to convince the company to shut the plant and quit. You need not to worry about our lives. It is your leading international company with hook or crook is imposing on us the tragic event inspite of our strong objections. But we will face it with our lives. Be prepare to give clarifications and explanations to the society after the tragic event you are refering to.

Durgadas Ganu Gaonkar,