Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Villagers of Morpirla gears up to oppose mining lease

The villagers of Morpirla under the Banner of Morpirla Bachav Samiti are gearing up to oppose the mining lease applied by M/s.Iva Mines and Marine Pvt. Ltd. Owned by a Gujarat based industrialist Shri Kothari over an area of 1157.93 hectares of Morpirla village of Quepem taluka.

The information available revealed that one M/s.Iva Mines and Marine Pvt. Ltd filed four different applications before the Directorate of Mine and geology has applied for mining lease to mine Bauxite, Laterite and A1 ore over an area of 1157.93 hectors. The Directorate then forwarded the application to the Collector of South who intern forwarded the same to the Mamlatdar of Quepem for its report. The mamlatdar then forwarded the application to the Panchayat for its comment. Interestingly the panchyayat did not place the notices on the notice board till the date of expiry which was on 15/11/2009. As the villagers were in dark they could not file their objection to the same in time and accordingly the mamlatdar of Quepem on 17/11/2009 forwarded its report to the Collector South Goa stating that there is 'no objection' from the villagers. The villagers only learnt on 20/11/2009.

In an objection filed before the Mamlatdar of Quepem the Collector South Goa, Margao Goa, the Governor of Goa, the Chief Minister, the Mining Minister, the MLA Quepem Constituency, the Director of Mines & Geology, the Indian Bureau of Mines, the Chief Secretary and The Sarpanch of V.P. Morprila, the villagers claimed that the total area of the village is 1443.64 hectares; if mining lease is given to M/s.Iva Mines and Marine Pvt. Ltd over an area 1157.93 hectors to Bauxite, Laterite and A1 ore then the entire village will be wiped out in the days to come.

The objection further states that the village has the hilly undulating topography. Understanding with the topography The Science and Techology Department Saligao Goa has started a project of Watershed Management to Conserve the Water and Soil Erosion. The project was taken up in the year 2001-2006, the total cost for the project was Rs.38 lakhs covering 656 hectare. After completing the project it was observed that the water table has increased and the production of the Cashew production has increased by 25%.

They further claims that in the village there are 15 natural springs, 5 ponds, 50 wells, 3 main streams, other drainage systems which fulfills the livelihood of the villages. The Morprila has 2511 population (census 2001) which consist 96.6% of Tribal i.e. Velip Community. Their livelihood is agriculture. As per Mr.Ulhas Gaonkar and Dr. Nandkumar Sawant study shows that cashew production of the village covers Rs.1.7 Crores turnover per year, besides the other production like Coconut, Paddy, Chilies, Vegatable, Sweet Potatoes, Black pepper, Banana, Pineapple and others are grown by the villagers, so this is the backbone of the village economy.

The objection further reads that as s per Panchayat Extension to Schedule Area Act 1996 article 224 (i) of the Indian Constitution provides for tribal dominated area of the country. One of the most significance provisions in the prevention of land transfer to non tribal in these areas. PESA 1996 seeks to gives the communities the greater control over their natural resources and developmental planning.

Granting of lease will endangeoured the very existence of the village/tribals. Thus will be deprived of right to live which is the fundamental right under article 21 of the constitution.

Speaking to reporters the villagers said that in the name of mining there is move on the part of the rulling class of Goa to deprive the tribals of Morpirla of their homeland which they have done in other part of Goa. Non implementation of Tribal Act and other beneficial legislation meant for the benefit of the tribals is a clear sign of this.

Meanwhile Quepem MLA Shri Chandrakant Kavlekar have also joined the villagers of Morpirla to oppose the mining lease. Speaking to reporter Kavlekar stated that at any cost he will not allow to grant mining lease in Morpirla village.

John Fernandes

No comments: