Sunday, January 31, 2010

Public Lecture by Prof. Alberto Gomes in Panjim

Nature Environment Society and Transformations (NEST) invites you for a public lecture "Spaces, Places, and Histories: A Political Ecological Perspective" by Prof. Alberto Gomes from Department of Anthropology and Sociology, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

The lecture will be held at Marathi Sahitya Seva Mandal Hall, near Central Library, Panaji at 4 pm on February 05, 2010.

You may know more about Prof. Alberto Gomes by clicking here.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Goa mining story that remained untold so far

I have been to Goa twice to do a story on mining. The first time i was 'held captive' on a Fomento mine. Fomento, of course, gave a public statement that i was 'trespassing' on Fomento property, and other baseless allegations.

There was no board which announced that the said property was 'private property' or 'tresspassers not allowed', there was no security personnel, so we-i was accompanied by Mr Rajendra Kerkar and my driver- entered what I was later informed, was Fomento premises. I must have gone in about 50 metres of what appeared to be-and later confirmed-to be a mining dump, I took about three pictures, when a security guard came and started getting abusive, he demanded my camera, and asked us to "get out." I calmly agreed--but with my camera. By which time, three other security gaurds had joined us-and demanded my camera. Their language was rough, and abusive. I not allowed to leave, our exit was physically blocked. By then, about 20 more and they got abusive, using language best not repeated in polite company.
They tried to snatch the car keys, even though we were standing quietly, making no attempts to leave. I requested them not to snatch the keys, but they persisted. And at this point , I decided to call the police-there is no irony in this, as the 'honourable' chairman of the company points out.

however, my story was not carried by the press--and here it is:

prerna singh bindra

------------------------------------------------------------------

It’s the Other Goa. The one you don’t know. Don’t want to know. Just a small step--and a long effort--away from sun-kissed beaches, flea markets, rave parties.
The land is scarred, the earth, ravaged; and the mountains—gouged and flattened ooze tears of blood, the mining waste pouring down the streams, till they are nothing but sludgy, silted drains.

Goa’s vast deposits of iron ore are playing havoc with it’s environment. First, let’s get a perspective of the mining industry. Goa has four per cent of India’s reserves producing more than 15 per cent of total iron ore. It is demand from China, and, Japan that is driving the mineral industry. According to the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association in 2008-2009, this tiny state contributed about 43 per cent of the total exports valued at about 38 million tonnes.

Take a look at Goa’s map, run a cursory glance along its 105 km lengh-95 km of this constitutes the mining belt. All of it on the plateaus of the Western Ghats—classified as a top biodiversity hotspot—from where more 42 rivers and tributaries’ flow, feeding the plains below. All of it doomed—if the rape of the mountains continues. Currently, about eight per cent of Goa is under mining. According to the Centre for Science and Environment, if all the mining lease applications are granted, which most probably they will be, more than one-fourth of the state would go under mining –a recipe for ecological disaster.

Mining has devastated Goa’s lifelines—fields, forests, air, ground water. The open cast mining practised in Goa is considered environmentally most damaging, ripping out the top soil to get to the ore seams. It generates huge amounts of wastes—to the tune of 25-30 million tons of mining rejects annually—most of which percolates down to the waterways. Mandovi is estimated to carry 2,00,000 metric tonnes of sediment every year. That’s the fate of almost all of Goa’s water sources—Khushawati, Kalay, Advoi, Bicholim. Visit the state in the monsoon—the blue waters of Goa’s rivers run a bloody red. This has destroyed the fish, all aquatic life, the National Institute of Oceanography in 1985 predicted a total extinction of estuarine life in the near future, unless the inflow of mining rejects was halted.

Groundwater is dipping fast—about ten tonnes of water is pumped out for every ton of iron ore. More than 10,000 trucks race to and fro in the mining areas to jetties connected by barges with Goa’s main port, Marmugao, spilling and spreading dust.

You can see the future of Goa in Pissurlem in Bicholim—one of the worst affected talukas. Red is the new green here-hills of waste stand instead of verdant mountains; trees, shrubs, grass don a coat of thick red. The residents have been relocated twice due to the mines, and are preparing themselves for yet another upheaval. In the land of the free, they have no choice. Mines are closing in on the village. Their 75-odd wells have dried up and the ground water has been ruined by mines. They are now dependent on tankers. They are breathing in mining dust, eating food laced with ore. Most children suffer from chronic diarrhoea, and respiratory diseases are on the rise. The land is chocked with silt. “Once,” says villager Ashok Chari, “our paddy fetched the highest price in the market. Now, we have lost both their Rabi and kharif crop. Our land is barren. A village elder confides that “our boys are finding it difficult to marry, People from non-mining villages are not responding to our marriage proposals.” In the southern tip of Goa, Devki Katu Veli in Colomb shows us the deep cracks in her house, caused by the constant blasting. She knows she invites wrath for going public, she has warned to “keep her mouth shut.” But she wonders, “what worse can they do?” Another resident mourns his home, which will be destroyed if the lease were to come through. As will the private forest that runs riot in his land. Go, see the village, while it stands, before it reduces to rubble. “1510 of the total 1929 hectares of land has been marked for mining,” informs Rama Valip, a farmer who has been battling against the mines, part of larger movement—a desperate fight for their home. A way of life. The easy-going, peace-loving Goan has taken to the streets to take on the powerful mining lobby.

Mining has completely desecrated Goa’s forests too. At least 18 per cent of Goa’s forests have been lost to mining, according to a report by the Delhi-based Energy and Resources Institute. Mines are closing in on Mollem and Nethravali wildlife sanctuaries.

Environmentalist Claude Alvares says that the mining holocaust of Goa can be largely blamed on the indiscriminate handing out of environment clearances by the MoEF.” Goa’s forest minister, Alexio Sequeira pretty much accuses the MoEF of the same in a letter written to the Minister of Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh dated August 8, 2009. “In spite of local, ecological, socio-economic and cultural objections, which are well-recorded during the Environmental Public Hearing, the Expert Appraisal Committee of the MoEF has chosen to grant clearances. The people say that Environment Impact Assessments are erroneous, misrepresenting information.” He also points out that there has been no monitoring of ambient air quality or ground water. The letter says that “except for two cases, all mines got the green signal by the MoEF.” Sequeira also points out that there is no combined EIA study—even though most mining leases are in clusters, clearances are given in an isolated, arbid manner.

Clearances were granted within one to three km of wildlife sanctuaries, to mines spilling into the river Khushavati. To a mine that will gouge out prehistoric rock paintings, a heritage site in Colomb. In Rivona, every single person at the Public Hearing objected to the mine, this was duly recorded—and then passed over. Ditto for the mines on the bank of the river at Bicholim-and so many others..

But then, can the state be trusted with the policing? Not when it allowed mining to continue in the heart of a sanctuary (Netravali), despite a Supreme Court Order. Not when it passed a motion in the cabinet to denotify 75 per cent of Madei and Netravali sanctuaries—ostensibly for ‘people rights’, but largely due to the pressure of the mining lobby, given that there are 62 dormant leases inside Netravali.

Illegal mines operate with impunity. According to the opposition BJP leader Manohar Parrikar has alleged that 18 per cent of the ore exported, worth about Rs.700 crore, is illegally mined. The Economic survey cites that more than 2.5 lakh hectares of government land has been taken over by illegal mining.

A recent state government report itself states that 35 of the 48 mining companies inspected have been operating illegally, but no action has been taken, since allegedly, the illicit activity has the backing of powerful politicians.

Speaking to Tehelka, the Chief Minister Digambar Kamat says that he is aware of the situation “and has appointed a committee to look into the issue of illegal mines.” His explanation to the devastation caused by the mines is the Draft Mineral Policy—a panacea for all ills if he is to be believed. Environmentalists, however, assert it will do more harm than good given that it serves the interest of the mining lobby, ignoring site-specific impacts on ecology, communities. Besides, it has no sharp guidelines about supervision, controls and monitoring and rehabilitation of exhausted mines are not dealt with.

Says Alvares, “Mining in Goa is an imbalanced and unjust model of economic activity in which the rewards are only for a select few, while the social and environmental costs are debited to society at large.”

Given the immense environmental and social costs, the economic benefits to the state border on the ridiculous-the industry contributes no more than one per cent to its avenue. Worse, mine owners themselves predict that ore reserves will be exhausted in 10 to 20 years. They will go then, the mines with the riches they have accrued leaving behind devastation-a scarred, ravaged, arid landscape, its people, paupered, it’s glorious past mere history.

Once was Goa.


Digambar Kamat, Chief Minister, Minister of Mines:

Mining has devastated Goa’s environment-ground water is getting depleted, mining wastes is silting the rivers and contaminating the soil. Agricultural production has crashed in mining areas. People are suffering from respiratory diseases. What do you have to say?

All that’s the past. Our government has drafted a Mineral Policy, which we threw open to the public for suggestion. We have received a lot of suggestions, and concerns have been raised, some on the issues you mention. We will now take these into consideration, and formulate a revised policy for mining in the state. It will also be in sync with the National Mining Policy.

But isn’t the policy biased, given that the committee had no representatives of local communities and environmentalists. For example, it advocates mining close to the states

I told you, we invited suggestions from everybody. Goa is a very small state, so we have to be rational about this—it has to be different for each sanctuary. For example, there is a bird sanctuary close to Panjim, the secretariat is about five km from there. So would you say, you can’t have that because it is close to the sanctuary?

So you are saying that mining may be allowed close to wildlife sanctuaries—you did give a statement in parliament saying that “there would be no mining in Western Ghats.”

No, no I am not saying that..we will take that aspect into consideration, and rationally decide the distance from sanctuaries.

Are you aware that in some cases almost entire villages go under mining—Colomb, Maina, in South Goa, some villages have as many as 23 leases. And you are aware people are opposing it.

No, no we won’t allow that to happen


Cheryl D’ Souza had to wait months to get permission to cut 16 trees (“there was no option, and we planted hundreds more) in her farm in Maina. There are different laws, or rather, no laws, for the miners. “Overnight,” she fumes, “ the mining companies raze forests and flatten mountains—and that’s fine?” Cheryl and her husband bought the farm, “after slogging and saving for years-because we were those foolish people who wanted to go back to the land. He loved it, Tony did and we struggled to make this place sustainable,” says she. Tony died in an accident three-years-back, and today Cheryl faces an unexpected, and vicious battle. She shows the farm—mango orchard, gurgling stream, and huge depressions on the sand--gaur, India’s rare wild oxen, classified as endangered under Indian law. All carry a sell-by date, most of Maina will be swallowed by the mines if the leases were to come through: the verdant hills around will be demolished, the stream reduced a turgid pool, the trees will choked by the dust. “And the gaurs—and the leopards,” she despairs, “where will they go?” The miners want her farm—and are willing to pay astronomical amounts. She refused. “What will I do with it? Go for cruises? How many cruises?” So they threatened her, “telling her to be sensible and do what is good for her and her eight-year-old daughter.” She, and her 83-year-old mother were roughed up by the police, and dragged to jail, when they protested by chaining themselves on the road to draw attention to illegal mining going on in her backyard. But the fight is not limited to her boundaries. It is a fight for water, for Goa, for her children. “This is not a sentimental fight for my home. It’s survival. We have to stand up, there is no choice. If we don’t, Goa is finished.”

Dr. Bikram Dasgupta Condolence meet in Panjim

Nature Environment Society and Transformations (NEST) invites you for a condolence meet of late Dr. Bikram Dasgupta on February 01, 2010 at Gomantak Sahitya Sevak Mandal hall, next to Central Library, Panaji Goa at 4.30 pm.

Friday, January 29, 2010

GOAMAP condemns arrests of Usgao mining trucks protestors

Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP) condemns the arrest of Catholic Priest Felix Lobo long with 5 other women by Police at the complaint of truck owner yesterday in Usgao while they were protesting transportation of iron ore through reckless movement of trucks that hit and injured young child on the road. GOAMAP demands the cases against Fr.Felix Lobo and other 5 women be withdrawn with immediate effect and mining transportation in Usgao be stopped forever.

GOAMAP supports the actions of the People of Usgao in blocking of the mining transportation after the authorities - including Goa’s Chief Minister - has turned blind eye and deaf ears to the people from the mining belt. Road blockades are resorted to by people under these desperate conditions.

GOAMAP also express solidarity and support to people from Bicholim town that also blocked mining trucks transporting Ore from Goa and Maharastra from causing innumerable problems to the town people.

Two simultaneous road blockade of mining trucks – one in Usgao and other in Bicholim – yesterday only goes about to show the extend of horror that mining industry has inflicted and the level of desperation that people of Goa are reaching towards.

GOAMAP holds that open cast iron ore mining and its transportation in Goa is major Public Health hazard that needs to be stopped at the earliest. Why should People of Goa suffer to benefit China and British Vedanta, and few local mining business tycoons?

Tension runs high in Usgao as cops arrest priest, 5 others



HERALD CORRESPONDENT


MARCEL, JAN 28

Tension flared up in Usgao on Thursday when six persons, including the parish priest of St Joseph Church, were arrested on charges of blocking the road near Usgao Bridge.

Fr Felix Lobo and five other women were among the villagers who had blocked the road after a student was injured in an accident earlier in the day.

Angered over the arrest of Fr Lobo, a large crowd then marched to the Ponda police station and demanded the immediate release of the parish priest.

Trouble broke out when a bus carrying school students and a truck collided with each other at Pratap Nagar, Usgao, at about 7.30 am.

Accusing the truck driver for driving in a rash and negligent manner, Fr Lobo and a group of villagers protested by blocking the road near the Usgao bridge.

A police team rushed to the site and tried to clear the blockade, but met with no response from the protesters.

“Since Fr Lobo and villagers refused to clear the road even after several requests, police arrested them. A complaint was filed in this regard by truck owner Gajanan Naik,” PI C L Patil told Herald.

PI Patil said Fr Lobo and the five other women were arrested for illegally blocking road and unlawful assembly under Sections 143 and 341 IPC.

Fr Lobo said they decided to block the road after they came to know about the injured child and to demand action against the over-speeding trucks.

“If we come on the streets, authorities say it is against the law. But what about the overloaded trucks that travel at high speeds? Is there any law for them,” asked Fr Lobo.

“There was an order from the North Goa collector to stop mining transportation from 7 am to 8 am and from 1 pm to 2 pm during school hours. Authorities are, however, least bothered to implement this order,” said Fr Lobo.

The situation worsened when truck owners from Usgao demanded the road to be cleared, resulting in heated arguments between the truck owners and protestors.

“What is our fault? I want to know why my truck was illegally blocked. Who are they to block the traffic this way,” asked and angry Gajanan Naik, former sarpanch of Usgao-Ganje and a truck owner, who later filed a police complaint with Ponda police.

Angry that Fr Lobo had been arrested, a number of villagers marched to the Ponda police station to demand the immediate release of the priest and the other women.

Even though bail had been granted to all the arrested, PI Patil said Fr Lobo has refused bail and was willing to stay in the lockup.

Police requested the 200-odd villagers, who had gathered in front of the police station to disperse. Since they refused, a strong police force was deployed at the site.

At about 8 pm, Power Minister Alexio Sequera visited the police station and met the priest.
“I had come to the police station for some personal work, where I happened to meet Fr Lobo, who is a friend of mine. I am driving him home as there is no transport at this time,” said the minister.

When contacted, North Goa SP Bosco George, who was also at the police station, said: “We requested Fr Lobo and managed to persuade him to avail the bail. We will look out for a favourable solution to the issue,” he said.

Herald, 29 January 2010, Panaji

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tough line on development

Here is very pertinent write up on theoretical and practical engagements of Alberto Gomes, a person with roots in Goa and currently a citizen of Australia teaching at Melbourne's La Trobe University. The following is awesome critique of dominant model of development sourced from the website of La Trobe University:


A La Trobe University anthropologist has been invited to develop and teach a unit for a major initiative by UNESCO to promote peace and sustainability. The four-week intensive on sustainable development and the environment will focus on human conditions – poverty, inequality and how they relate to environmental problems. It is a unique approach developed by Dr Alberto Gomes that challenges the dominance of free market economics in the world eye.

‘Our everyday lives have become dominated by economic calculus,’ Dr Gomes says. ‘This needs to be challenged. We need to move to different ways of managing our lives like tribal people – on the basis of ecological principles and green values.’

Dr Gomes draws on thirty years of work with the tribal peoples of Malaysia. They have been compelled to give up environmentally sustainable practices to adjust to modern economic principles. They used to manage the forests communally. Now they are engaged in commercial agriculture which promotes individualism.

The important role anthropologists can play in framing new ways of looking at the world situation is highlighted by Dr Gomes’ appointment. He is teaching the course for the UNES CO International Master in Peace, Conflict and Development Studies at Unversitat Jaume I, in Castell├Án, Spain during November and December.

Political ecology is one of the new ways of looking at these development issues that takes into account the social and political conditions of communities.

‘If you want to understand the impact of the extraction of oil in Africa, political ecology says that it’s not just a matter of looking at the environmental aspect but also the complex underlying political economic conditions. For example, how do power relations – the dominance of certain groups over others – impact on people’s relations with the environment? A lot of the conflicts that have emerged in Africa are somehow related to resource extraction. If you analyse them deeper they are to do with unequal distribution of resources.’

Free market economics is a Western concept that does not sit well with communities in less-developed countries, Dr Gomes says. ‘Such a type of economics promotes competition whereas many traditional societies adhere to a communal and egalitarian lifestyle with a strong sharing ethic. Free market capitalist economics promotes a hierarchical structure. Inequality is an integral part of the system.’

Dr Gomes is also taking a tough line on the issue of population control in an approach he calls the Malthusian spectre. ‘I challenge the conventional view that the depletion of resources is primarily due to increasing human population,’ he says. ‘You can have small populations that consume a lot more than larger ones. One US person, for example, consumes 40 times more energy than a Bangladeshi.

‘If we are concerned about environmental issues we should curtail growth of high-consuming groups. Why do we promote population control in the developing world?’

Low consumption in developing countries is often labelled as poverty by Western economists. ‘The issue is not about poverty but inequality,’ Dr Gomes says. ‘People are condemned to be poor because they don’t have equal access to the resources that would allow them to escape poverty.

‘High economic growth in India and China has increased the rate of inequality. The free market benefits people unequally. If you take India for example, an economist would say the country is progressing. Per capita incomes in India have increased but it is only a small percentage of people who have contributed to the increased per capita figures.’

Judging economic success by per capita income is a very narrow way of looking at the issue, he says.

‘If we speak about environmental problems, they tend to affect those in poverty much more than rich, affluent societies because of the transfer of pollution to marginal rural areas. Flexible capitalism promotes the placement of polluting industries in poor areas where labour demands can be filled.

GOAMAP condemns sedition charge and arrest of Piyush Sethia

Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP) strongly condemns sedition charge and arrest of farmer Piyush (Manus) Sethia by Tamilnadu police. It's tragic irony that State authorities have chosen to make mockery of Freedom of Speech Expression guaranteed in the constitution India on the Republic day 26 January 2010 and that too at a function to celebrate the republic in Salem, Tamilnadu. Piyush - set for cycle yatra in P. Chidambaram's constituency - was distributing pamphlets in Tamil condemning the Salwa Judum war in Chattisgarh targeting over 600 adivasi villages causing innumerable pain and agony when police took him in their custody after hitting him on his head, and charged him with sedition.

Piyush (Manus) Sethia has been associated with GOAMAP since August 2009 when his group in Salem 'Salem Speak Out!' when it hosted the three day meeting of various groups and individuals struggling against mining industry in India. GOAMAP has been privileged to be part of this meeting then through two of its representatives.

Obsession with growth driven GDP model has gripped Indian State, driving desperate to insult and humiliate Indian constitution with repressive curtailments of Civil Liberties and murderous trappings on 'incivil' adivasi people all over Chatisgarh State through 'Salwa Judum'. In the short run as well as in the long run the civil war in Chatisgarh is beneficial towards spiraling of further violence on both the waring sides.

The war is annihilating stable villages and clearing the way for corporate to move in to trigger India's great mining plunder. GOAMAP calls for thorough introspection of the mining driven, growth led development model followed by India leading towards massive destruction and inequality all over the country including Goa. It is this model of development pursued by India that is responsible huge upheavals and protests against state repression. India must instead follow the path of de-growth.

GOAMAP extends full Support and Solidarity to Piyush and his family in Salem and demands his immediate release from the prison and quashing of sedition charge against him.

Sd/-

Sebastian Rodrigues
Convenor-GOAMAP

Bicholim residents stop mining transport

BICHOLIM JAN 28:


About 200 people from Bicholim without considering party lines and led by the Bicholim MLA, Rajesh Patnekar today carried out rasta roko on the Bicholim bridge in protest against the mining trucks plying through the city.

It may be recalled that since last four years, there has been constant agitations in the taluka in protest against the mining transportation.

Besides trucks from Sirsaim, trucks proceeding from Maharastra, which enter the State, use the roads in Bicholim.


The agitations have been sparked off mostly due to accidents, pollution, overloading of mining trucks and police authorities’ incompetence in keeping a check over mining. The agitations only led the traffic to stop for some time, which would resume after about two to three days.


In view of this the Bicholim MLA had told that the problem should be solved once for all and a meeting to this effect was called last week.

About 100 people attended the meeting and expressed their displeasure over the mining traffic in the city. On Tuesday the MLA had given a memorandum to the deputy collector in connection with the same and had given five days ultimatum. As the authorities failed to take appropriate steps a bandh of traffic was today called.


Today at about 8.30 am agitators led by the MLA gathered near the Bicholim bridge the mob got furious after seeing a mining truck and after stopping the truck assaulted the driver who ran for life. Later, the truck was taken on the bridge and the entire traffic was halted. The mob palted stones on the truck and punctured all the four tyres after taking it on the bridge.

After receiving the information the Bicholim PI, Harish Madkaikar went to the site and tried to pacify the mob who demanded to call the authority and totally stop the mining trucks plying in the area. As the traffic was halted on the main Bicholim bridge some of the vehicles were diverted from Kudchirem road towards Sanquelim. But, due to narrow road there was traffic jam reported in the Kudchirem area.

At about 10.30 the Deputy collector, Kenawdekar went to the site and told that the issue could be solved with discussion. On this the mob became furious and told that since last one year there had been such discussions going on but there are no outcomes and so they were forced to come on road. They sought to know as to why there was no response for five days when the memorandum was submitted.

The agitators demanded that they would call off only if the deputy collector gives in writing that the mining trucks would not be allowed to ply from the city. The deputy collector told that he did not have such authority and so the mob asked to call the collector for discussion.

They also threatened of Bicholim bandh if their demands are not fulfilled or if they are arrested.

The tension went high once again when they were told that the collector is busy and won't be able to come to Bicholim. Later the president of the MGP, Pandurang Raut showed the deputy collector an earlier order from the collector stating that the inter-state ore transport would not be allowed in the state. Based on the letter the deputy collector issued an order asking all the mining trucks to stop plying from Bicholim and the agitation was called off at about 1.30 pm.

The traffic was yet to be normalised till the evening as it took much time to remove the punctured truck from the bridge. An assault case was also registered against the Bicholim councillor, Kamlakar Teli by one Sajay Khandeparkar and the Bicholim truck association.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the truck owners and the drivers meeting was held in the evening and they are likely to submit memorandum to the deputy collector on Friday.


Samir Umarye

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Piyush Sethia charged for sedition, arrested in Salem

Piyush (Sethia) Manush, a human rights and environmental justice defender from Salem, was arrested yesterday, 26th January 2010 and charged with Sedition. His “crime”: To attempt to circulate a pamphlet, in his capacity of a representative of a much-wider Campaign for Justice and Peace at a Republic Day function in Salem.

Campaign for Justice and Peace's pamphlets announced that people will undertake a cycle yatra across Tamilnadu to highlight the Indian and Chattisgarh government’s brutal and inhuman treatment of the adivasis. Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and other parts of central and east India have been long subjected to plunder by Indian and International corporations. The indigenous people have suffered heavily, losing their lands, livelihoods and lives because they resist this invasion. There is absolute lawlessness and blatant violations of human rights.

Journalist and common citizens are intimidated and barred from entering these areas lest the word spreads and the truth be revealed. Even peaceful gatherings are targeted by State police, para military forces, and state sponsored and state-armed militia such as the Salwa Judum. Leaders and others are threatened so that there is no voice of dissent. With Home Minister P.Chidambaram's Operation “Green Hunt”, the situation in Chattisgarh has worsened. The cycle rally to be launched was to travel through Tamil Nadu to the constituency of Home Minister P. Chidambaram to inform Tamil Nadu residents about the State/Central Government's war against adivasis in Chattisgarh. Piyush Sethia was to begin the rally with two other friends after distributing pamphlets at a Republic Day function attended by the Collector. The pamphlet is asking why the State is denying the guarantees under the Constitution by the Republic of India to adivasis, and why the State Government has refused to obey the Supreme Court order directing them to rehabilitate the 644 evicted villages, and their residents. The pamphlet ends by stating that we won't remain silent and will take a cycle rally through the villages of Tamilnadu to build public opinion (hardly a non-democratic means).

Even before he could distribute one pamphlet, police personnel appeared on the scene and demanded to know what he was doing. He shared one of his pamphlets with them. Inspector (IS) Mr. Annadurai, who arrived on the scene in a jeep, got down and instructed Piyush to enter the jeep. When Piyush refused to do that Mr. Annadurai repeatedly hit him on his head, and pushed him into the jeep.

Piyush has been charged with sedition (Section 124A -- see below for the definition of the charge under IPC), and for disrupting a Government function (Section 4(i) under TN Police Act, 1949). The former (Sedition) is a non-bailable offence with a maximum sentence of life plus fine. However, the charge is totally non-maintainable given the content of the pamphlet that was distributed. It appears that Piyush will be in Salem Central Jail for a few days before he can be released. His advocate Mr. Mayan assures that he will be released in a few days, hopefully before 29 January. By charging Piyush for sedition under the IPC, the Tamilnadu Police and Tamilnadu Government has exposed their ignorance of the law, and disrespect and disregard for the Constitution of India that guarantees to every citizen the right to free speech and expression. It is an irony and a sign of our times in that this arbitrary curb on free speech should happen on the 26th of January, the day our Constitution came into effect. Piyush was taken to Central Jail yesterday. The Campaign for Justice and Peace, Tamilnadu, organised a press conference in Chennai on 27 January, 2010 with solidarity support and endorsements from across the country. Update on the situation is awaited.

ROUGH TRANSLATION OF THE PAMPHLET THAT ALLEGEDLY CONTAINS THE SEDITIOUS MATERIAL:

Government of India: Stop the War

P.Chidambaram, who in order to pander to the imperialist designs of Tata, Essar, Mittal, Vedanta, has destroyed 644 villages, and made 3 lakh Indian refugees in their own land. India is becoming Africa Chattisgarh is where this sorry state of affairs prevails. Under such circumstances, is the celebration of Republic Day justified? The Right to Life of Citizens of the country is a big question mark. The Republic Day is a day when the state reaffirms its intent to safeguard the democratic rights of Indian citizens. However, on this day, the Central Government has, in the name of battling the Naxalites, armed some adivasis organised as the Salwa Judum. Further, in the name of Operation Greenhunt, Mr. P. Chidambaram and his cabal have caused more than 5000 adivasi women to be raped. More than 2.5 lakh adivasis have been forced to escape into the forests to safeguard their lives. Further, more than 50,000 adivasis from Chattisgarh are living as refugees in Andhra Pradesh. Further, the Supreme Court has ordered the Central and State Governments to restore to the more than 300,000 adivasis from 644 villages their homes and villages, and to facilitate their return to their home villages. But despite this, the Governments have done nothing to obey the Supreme Court order. Why this illegal act? Where are the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people? On this day, (26th January), what guarantees are being extended by the Indian state to Adivasis? Is it the intent of the Indian Government merely to hand over land to Tatas, Essar and Vedantas, and enrich them? At a time when farmers have underlined their problems by committing suicides, by snatching away agricultural lands and handing it over to the rich, are you declaring that this is the face of progress? We will raise our voices against it. On 26 January, we will undertake a cycle rally via Sivagangai (Chidambaram's constituency) to Chennai. Campaign for Justice and Peace. 14A, 5th Avenue, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090 Contact: 9443248582

This post is based on compilation of various information inputs by Sayantoni Datta

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The story of the August Rose

Amiya Bhusan Sarkar's theory titled "A Number theoretic Identity" in Mathematics has been published in Sutra : International Journal of Mathematical Education volume 2 Number 2, 2009. It can be downloaded from the links below:

http://www.tmrfindia.org/sutra/issue.html

Amiya Bhushan Sarkar had worked on this paper while he was student of M.Sc at Department of Mathematics at Goa University few years ago. Amiya has played very vital role as active participant in Nature Environment Society and Transformations (NEST) that was founded by late Dr.Bikram Dasgupta. Amiya is also very good violinist learned from his teacher in Santa Cruz village and practiced it regularly while he stayed at Goa University boy's hostel.

Currently Amiya is at his home at Maymenshing, Bangladesh making busy with teaching students in tutions classes. Amiya has been foundational inspiration to me as well in terms of directions for critical engagements in transformation projects while I was pursuing my higher studies at Goa University. He is single most powerful influence underlining importance of rigorous study. He continuously stressed : Study, study, study/ work, work work... He scribbled these words several times on my note pads. His scribblings are imprinted deeply on my mind ever since.

Even though I do not understand the level of mathematics involved in his theory but still feel pleased that his theory is now accessible to the World. I have a good fortune in being part of the mission to get theory published. The mission was code named "the Rose in August" from the August 2008 the efforts had began. Amiya requested me to work on this in July 2008. However then I was busy in other things and told him that I could do somethings possible within my limits from August onwards.

The first step involved included the locating the typed papers of his theory he left with me while he hastily left for Bangladesh leaving his law studies at Salgaoncar Law College incomplete. He was thrown out from Goa University hostel. I found that white ants had attacked my stock of papers and his theory papers too was attacked. Luckily the printed matted escaped from attention of white ants.

The next step was to scan it and circulate to my contacts worldwide. But this could not fetch very good results as one of reviews even brushed it aside saying that there is nothing in it. Amiya refused to bulged down with all round rubbishing of his work. Then began the search of contacts of Journals in Mathematics available at Goa University library. The scanned paper was send as mass e-mail with a polite letter of introduction and contacts of Amiya in Bangladesh.

Once when we could not see the light of the day Amiya began questioning my efforts. I lost my head on him then (I am sorry for it Amiya!) and told him that my role is over now as I had done my level best to circulate his theory.

Just when we (rather I) were thinking that everything was lost then came the message from the Sutra International Journal seeking to publish his theory. Amiya was required to do the fresh typing modifications but ill equipped to do so from rural Bangladesh he is currently located at. I had no expertize to do so. At this juncture he was assisted by his old friend mathematician Stephan Barreto currently teaching at Padre Consecao College of Engineering, Verna, Salcete, Goa.

And few days back he sent me the links of the Journal where his theory was published. I could not believe it! Amiya wanted this news to be published in newspapers in Goa. I asked for his photograph. He readily sent it.

I must be failing in my duty if I do not share that he took 8 years to complete his M.Sc from Goa University. But never gave up. He had to learn English from the scratch. This took many years.

I conclude this note saying BIG CONGRATULATIONS! to Amiya and quote one of the most overwhelming sms I ever received from anyone. I received it yesterday from Amiya "Dear Seby, Please write the story about August Rose briefly, really I don't know about this story."

So here I dedicate this space to you Amiya and your wonderful presence in Goa for one full decade. This is a story of August Rose that bloomed in January for eternity. An inspiration to all the students everywhere particularly on the coast of Arabian Sea that you are so found of and led you to Goa! I am sure Prof Sadashiv Deo, the then Mathematics department head would be delighted to know about this and happy that he played his role in bringing rare treasure to study in Goa. Amiya has just remembered his late father who was school teacher and called Amiya 'Happy'. I am sure his father is very happy at this moment in the life of his son to whom he protected against all odds specially in the days as refugee in North-East India after Indo-Bangladesh war.

Salute to you Amiya!



Sebastian Rodrigues

Monday, January 25, 2010

Beginning with Dadu….

Half a century has passed since Indian Constitution is in operation. It has some very attractive characteristics of focus to be adopted by all the segments of Indian Society. The Constitutions’ resolve to construct India as Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic is very essence in a way it then unfolds though 395 articles, Twelve Schedules. In theory all these is meant to provide justice – social, economic and political; Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; Equality of status and opportunity; promotion of Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.

No doubt that this is one of the most amazing experiments in democracy in the World that has continued ever since adoption of Constitution on 26th November 1949. Various dynamics of caste, class and religions has unfolded themselves in this complex matrix over the past half century. This amazing nature of transformation of various categories has been jostling with each other for something very powerful – expression and liberation of its people. Number of movements has gripped this country- movements are as varied and diverse from Telangana movement soon after Independence in 1940s to demand for separate Telangana State that has reached its boiling point in 2010. Peasants expressed loudly. People suppressed with aid of institutional violence of caste too have articulated remarkably. In fact Dr.Ambedkar who chaired the Constitutional Assembly that drafted the Constitution of Indian was dedicated advocate of liberation of suppressed castes. His dedicated efforts for the liberation of suppressed castes that came to be referred as Dalit, led to his sharp and sustained differences with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

The efforts and energy that went into the drafting and accepting the Constitution to India are huge and well known from the records available in constitutional debates. The next stage has been the working of the Constitution of India for the past over 60 years. Constitution of India by itself is huge step towards liberation of People of India in relative sense. Considering the complexity of the nation it has never been easy for constitution to come alive on its own without organized efforts from various sources; sometimes State agencies, sometimes public spirited organizations, and sometimes courageous individuals determined to put the words in the constitution in practice. The State as an agency bound by the Constitution of India often tended to transgress and indulge in violations of the Constitutional mandates including the Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy. The legal enforcements of Fundamental Rights has been left to judiciary particularly at higher levels that do not too often is accessible to the poor and the common people unless they are organized for political action for the purpose.

Power relations in society very often generate very strong currents that are counter to the spirit of the Constitution. There are several power relations that work simultaneously to thwart the spirit of the Constitution. Some of these worth listing:

Elite dominated Judiciary: there could not be any greater danger to the Constitution of India than from the elite dominated judiciary in India. Judiciary though very often has played very important role in society. However on very often when it tested on crucial points it has faltered to defend the spirit of Constitution. Indian Supreme Court’s decision to uphold curtailment of Article 21 (Right to life) by the Indian government of Indira Gandhi during emergency shall forever remain darkest moment in Indian democracy. The judgment was dissented on the sole judge Justice Khanna who refused to compromise the spirit of the Constitution and get bullied by the Indian Government under emergency. Another occasion wherein the judiciary has made travesty of justice is in when supreme court ruling couple of years ago deciding on British multinational corporate – Vedanta’s – mining interests on Niyamgiri hills that are life source for the adivasi people of the locality. Supreme Court bench not only let Vedanta carry on the mining in Niyamgiri Forests in Orissa but also urged Dongria adivasis to take share of profits from the mining company. Justice Chabaria even went on praising the mining company and declared in the open court that he owns the shares of the company! Compromises in judiciary in upholding the spirit of constitution is biggest threat to the Indian democracy facing today. Judges tend to toe the line of commercial interests and ruling governments. The problem is aggravated due to intolerance of criticism from any quarters. Power of contempt is invoked on anyone venturing to protest against the judicial verdicts and judges. Arundhati Roy was charged with contempt when she critiqued Judiciary’s view point of tribals and was forced to imprisonment for few days. This is a very unfortunate trend for India. Ruthless criticism of Indian judiciary is the need of the hour to further expand the liberative horizons. One can’t refrain from expressing deep appreciation for the Judiciary in Pakistan when the dictator General Parvez Musharaf tried to put his cronies as judges replacing unflinching Justice Iftikar Chowdury in the highest court in Pakistan. The agitation by Pakistan lawyers led by its Chief justice is one of the rarest and inspiring instances in recent South Asian history that successfully overthrow the dictator. Indian judiciary has so much to learn from its Pakistani counterpart. People of India must indulge in relentless criticism of its Judiciary and simultaneously be prepared to spend time in jail when charged with contempt. These levels of efforts are a need of the hour in the present juncture of our times. At deep and subtle level question arises: can Indian Judiciary remain free from Caste and Class alignments of power relations?

Disorganized citizenry: It is not enough that India has one of the best Constitutions in the World in place. Large part of the county is still disorganized and it is very important that citizens self-organise themselves to get the constitution unfolding itself in practice. The price of democracy is eternal vigilance of its citizens. It is in this context the publisher of Prajasattak continually for the last half decade – Dadu Mandrekar – deserves special recognition for all his hard work to create annual atmosphere of constitutional awareness. Dadu is like bright burning candlelight in all gloomy night that continuously burns itself to uphold the theory and practice of Constitution of India. He is certainly doing his level best as per the capacities gifted on him by nature. He is also an inspiration for others groping in dark to believe that it is better to light a candle than to curse darkness. The lesson one needs to draw out from Dadu Mandrekar is that it means swimming against the tide to defend and uphold the constitution of India. These are exactly the kind and magnitude of efforts required on the part of citizens to make Indian Constitution work and rooted amongst the people at large. Unfailingly he publishes one annual issue of Prajasattak. It is just not about publication, it is more than that. It about continues debate that he carries on with large number of people focusing attention on the document called ‘Constitution of India’, the verbal thoughts and vibes that he transmits then gets gradually chrysalises into thoughts and ultimately flows through written word in several languages in this annual issue – Konkani, Marathi, Hindi, and English. I am happy to be involved in this venture of Dadu since the beginning. The consistency of efforts and perseverance in the face of worst of odds is what has taken Dadu to continue these efforts with remarkable breakthroughs. Worst of odds includes painstaking and repeated follow up with contributors like me, and shortage of finance for to pay the printer to get the publication on time in the face of reluctance of the agencies to be liberal in granting of advertisements. The reluctance is mostly due to two factors: firstly, low level of awareness on the importance of Constitution of India. Secondly, the play of cast politics; had Dadu been a Saraswat Brahmin he would have no shortage of flow of funds for he would have tremendous connections to pull strings at the snap of his fingers. Dadu is a dalit. He takes you to Goa full of exploitation and oppression. Which business funders or State agencies would like to politically and financially align with him? Dadu’s ways has often been to take loan on the small quantity of jewelry that his wife posses and then over a period of time to pay back the loan and recover the jewelry. In some was as a commitment to uphold constitution of India ‘We the People’ has to align ourselves with Dadu and support his efforts and respond to his calls to finance support. It is ‘We the People’ who are in need this Constitution of India rather than ‘We the Corporate’ dominated by the very forces that carried on the exploitation in feudal form for past centuries denying humanity to women and pushing majority section of humanity into outcast and untouchables creating lame social system for steady supply of free labour generating surplus in the hands of few that considered themselves privileged through religious sanctions to rule and be component of the State. Dadu is individual. Dadu is a symbol of determination. Dadu is a metaphor of this reality.

Corporate rampage: Mainstream Indian development model particularly since past two decades has been aggressive assault on the Article 38 of the constitution –“ State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people – (1) The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life. (2) The State shall, in particular, strive to minimize the inequalities in income, and endeavor to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities, not only amongst the individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas or engaged in different vocations.” State in India today has completely let loose the corporate rampage. Ruling and opposition parties in the India are providing tacit support to this corporate aggression. In fact they are active colluders as corporate funding has been stable funding for the function of political parties in India. The ruling congress party opened out Indian economy in 1991. The opposition BJP then in order to divert protest against the economic policies indulged in breaking up of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya thereby by paying way for riots and channelizing debate towards communal question in India and providing safe entry for economic bullies to set up their bases in the country. However after the luster of Ayodhya demolition faded away reality began to strike point blank – one after the other – Indian political establishment began active colluder with the global economic giants seeking to plunder India in wide and diverse manner. Land grabs began to be legitimized legally through SEZ Act. Vast tracks of land were parceled out for Special Economic Zones (SEZ) though out the country. Wherever there was there was some form of political organization of People. In other places it has been open unchallenged loot of cooperates. Mining companies has been provided with red carpet welcome in India. State has created civil wars in order to clear the land for the corporate. Tribal people known also as adivasis are found to be direct enemy of corporate and correspondingly the direct enemy of the State to be plotted against and drawn into the war known as ‘Salwa Julum’ in Chatisgarh, and then consent to be established through various discourses in the media – Indian media has transformed itself into great factory of manufacturing consent. Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram came alive on NDTV a month ago and declared ‘It is a matter of worldview whether one believes that tribals must live in isolation or they must be helped to integrate in the national mainstream”. According to this logic the war and fight for mineral in the Country has been a helping hand to integrate tribals into the mainstream India! What a cleaver way to camouflage the blunt State-Corporate combine aggression to usurp land through dispossession! This is a reality today across India, across Konkan, and across Goa. Societies are getting polarized into two and middle class is sandwiched between the two – not knowing which side to align with. Disposes tribals, disposes peasants, disposes farmers, disposes fishermen, and disposes urban poor. For Forest are up for sale, Sea and rivers are up for sale, Water is up for sale, land is up for sale, minerals are up for sale! Its sale all the way if you have money to buy. If not, then it is plundering my love, right through! And what does one does in the face of plunder?

Determined and organized efforts are needed to defend the constitution of India. I join forces with Dadu and invite you too, for time to organise has dawned! We need to organize to resist plunder, we need to organize to straighten up our difference within oppressed sections. We need to organize for power – Social, Cultural, Political, Spiritual and Economic. We need to organize to retain our dignity. We need to organize to run marathon in struggle. Long term perspective in organizing is very essential. Impulsive reactions with deficiency in planning will not lead to any kind of effect on those plundering us. Similarly single issue struggle will not make any effective dent in these efforts either. In fact this does not posses any kind of possibilities to halt plunder. Number of single issue lobbyist must build alliances amongst themselves and get into long term project of planning together and collective critique of the system in place. Plundering goes on unheeded precisely because of unorganized nature of resistance with no proper understanding of motives and direction of struggle. Too many groups involved in resistance are getting pushed into isolation and they lack mechanism to connect and break their isolations. Besides there is need for critical assessments of various changes taking place worldwide in the face of climate crisis and evolving worldwide planetary efforts to face the crisis and how some countries are making business opportunity out of this serious crisis. What are the implications for the Constitution of India in the face of Climate crisis? How one does seriously and urgently halts trends of overconsumption that is prompting corporate war on people of India and People of planet Earth? There is need for intellectuals to soil themselves in the mundane tasks of organizing. There is need for the activist to get into rigors of study, reflection and disciplined expressions. It is tough for both. Yet this needs to be done. Theories cannot be dished out from academic ivory towers. It needs sweat and hard work of involvement on the part of intellectuals in various academic institutions. They need to soil their hands and hearts in struggle and then express out loud. Activists too very urgently need to take re-look at the way their time is invested and streamline their commitments. Balance of study and action is what is needed without getting sucked up into the logic of the system: “If you are not with us then you are against us”. We need to fight our ways out of this logic and stride towards massive breakthroughs consistently. The beginning has to be made. It may be very small. I am beginning with Dadu…


Sebastian Rodrigues


Written for Prajasatak 2010 issue edited and published by Dadu Mandrekar on the occasion of Republic Day, 26th January 2010 in Panjim.

Goa Sudharop youth award to Motesh Antao

Motesh Antao from Colamb - a well known for his tirade against mining industry in Goa - has has won the Goa Sudharop Youth award. The award ceremony was held on January 14, 2010 in Panjim. The citation for the award reads as "for his sustained struggle against as well as his pro-active role in the solidarity against illegal and destructive mining in Goa." Goa Sudharop, a Community Development Inc. USA is an organisation of Goan diaspora, volunteer, non-profit organisation working for betterment of Goa and Goans worldwide based in California, USA with Ibonio M.B.D'Souza as its Goa Representative.

Motesh Antao was awarded with a certificate of citation and cheque of Rs.10,000/-. Mining companies has registered several cases against Motesh Antao at Quepem Police station for his support to the Colamb villagers in raising their voice against mining aggression of his village - agriculture, water bodies and forest cover. His is also farmer whose agricultural land - paddy fields - are at severe risk due to mining of iron ore in at his neighborhood by Fomento mining company that operates Hiralal Khodidas mining lease 06/1949.

Jessica Fernandes from Goenchea Xetkarancho Ekvott was awarded Youth award for her defense of agriculture in Goa. The award ceremony took place in Panjim on January 14, 2010.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Rape of the Hills

For the sake of Goa's Dempo mining corporation Asniye villagers in Maharashtra are are latest site of struggle for minerals. Click here for detail story by Prabhat Sharan in countercurrents.org

Sunday, January 24, 2010

IS GOA DAMAN AND DIU AGRICULTURE TENANCY ACT 1964 A BENEFICIAL LEGISLATION?

By John Fernandes

The Goa government, as part of the agricultural reforms, to curb exploitation of poor farmers by the landlord and to safeguard the rights of the tenants to the agricultural land which they are in cultivatory possession, in short one can say for the benefit of farmers, brought out a legislation called “Goa, Damnan and Diu Agricutural tenancy Act 1964”.

That in 1972 to fortify or to give more teeth to the Agriculture Tenancy Act or in short to make the tenant owner of the land which they are/were in cultivatory possession and enjoyment, the Goa Government made an amendment to the act called 5th amendment to the Agricultural Tenancy Act, which came into force on 14/10/1976. The 5th amendment to the Agricultural Tenancy Act became famous as “Tillers’ day” . By way of the 5th amendment a new chapter “Chapter IIA” was introduce to the principal act by which special rights and privileges of tenants in the form of section 18A to 18L were inserted. The Agricultural Tenancy Act being beneficial legislation meant to help the poor farming community who were part of oppression and suppression for ages is also given special protection by including it into the IXth schedule of the constitution of India.

The agricultural Tenancy Act 1964 is also known as Beneficial legislation. Is it a beneficial legislation or is it any other civil legislation. If it is a beneficial legislation whether the benefits of the legislation has been down pour to the poorest of the poor, to the most needy one. My answer is no. The benefit of the beneficial legislation is yet to get large section of the poor farming community of Goa. There are hardly any efforts being done by our present rulers to make the Tenancy act a beneficial one.

That section 18A of the Agricultural Tenancy act which is introduced by the 5th amendment reads as under “18A. Tenants deemed to have purchased lands on tillers day: (1) On the tillers’ day, every tenant shall subject to the other provisions of this Act, be deemed to have purchased from his landlord the land held by him as a tenant and such land shall vest in him free from all encumbrances subsisting on the said day.”

Section 18C of the said act reads as under “18C. Mamlatdar to issue notices and determine price of land to be paid by the tenants.”

That to give effect to the 5th amendment to the agricultural tenancy act the respective taluka mamlatdars since the year 1995 used to issue suo-moto notices to the tenants under section 18C of agricultural tenancy act whose names are recorded in the survey records, which survey is maintained by the Government under the Land Revenue Code 1968 and large number of tenants taken the benefit of it as they have paid the purchase price of their tenanted land and obtained Sanad. However in some cases in Quepem taluka though the tenants have paid the purchase price, the concerned mamlatdat like Vanancio Furtado who is presently the Dy-Collector of Quepem did not signed the copy of the judgement as a result some of the tenants are denied the right of ownership due to the willful negligence of the mamlatdar. They are still facing litigation under the Tenancy Act. Now in respect of the same cases the successive mamlatdar has put an endorsement on the file which states that “since suo moto cases cannot be initiated now u/s.18C as per the Judgement of administrative, this case filed”

That in the year 1999 the Administrative Tribunal Panaji in ten Revision application being Revision Application No.71/96 to 80/96 file by Rui Tito vaz against the tenants from Betul , passed a judgment over the 18-C issue which held that mere recording name in survey record maintain under Land Revenue Code 1968 does not entitled one to be a tenant under the Agricultural Tenancy Act. That in order to claim under the Agricultural tenancy Act one has to first get himself declared as tenant. That after the judgment passed by the Administrative Tribunal, Panaji in revision application 71/96 to 80/96 all the 18-C cases in which su-moto notices were initiated by the respective mamlatdars under the agricultural tenancy Act 1964 and which were pending kept in abeyance or the proceedings closed and since then no further 18-C notices have been issued to the tenant.

That after the judgment all the ten revision applications were remanded back to the Quepem Mamlatdar by the Administrative Tribunal with a direction to first conduct an inquiry under section 7 of the Said Agricultural Tenancy Act and thereafter decide the proceedings under section 18C a fresh. The ten cases which were remanded back to the Mamlatdar by the Administrative Tribunal in 1999 are coming up for the final hearing in October 2009 that is after a long battle by the poor tenants for 10 years. This inspite of the fact that rule 10(14) provide for disposal of Tenancy application within one years. To fought the battle for ten years under the beneficial legislation the poor tenants might have invested in lakhs.

My argument is that, if a tenant who is tilling the land for generations together, who has been exploited for generation by their landlord and inspite of the fact that his/her name is recorded in the survey record as tenant, has to fight cases like any other Civil case for decades together to get declared himself/herself as tenant What is the use of beneficial legislation? In such circumstance can the Agriculture Tenancy Act 1964 is worthy to call as beneficial legislation? Or it can be termed as any other civil legislation?

What is the use of 5th Amendment to the Agriculture Tenancy Act which was enacted with a motive to make the tenants owner of the land which they are in cultivatory possession ? What is the use of including the Agricultural Tenancy act in the IXth Schedule of the constitution?

In a judgment passed by the administrative Tribual Panaji being Tenancy Revision case No.21/94 court (on pg.7) made a mention that survey under the Agriculture Tenancy Act was initiated at list in one taluka that is in Salcete however as the survey under land revenue code came into operation the survey initiated under the Agriculture tenancy act was abandoned. This was done in order to avoid duplicity of work. Which mean the government has indirectly adopted the survey conducted under Land Revenue Code 1968 to the Agricultural Tenancy Act. This is so as there is no separate survey record with the Government conducted under Agricultural Tenancy Act 1964.

That due to the Judgment passed in revision application 71/96 to 80/96 by the Administrative Tribunal Panaji most of the genuine tenants have been denied their right to purchase under 18-C. Now they have to file tenancy cases which they hardly win due to lack of written evidence as the transaction between the tenant and the Bhatkar are oral. After the administrative Tribunal judgement there is a tendency developed among the landlord to file eviction cases against the tenant whose names are recorded as tenants, which most tenant are compelled to compromise or forgo their right due to weak financial position or due to ignorance of law . Only those tenants who had paid the purchase price under 18-C prior to 1999 and those who have obtained Sanad are safe.

Under such circumstance the agricultural tenancy act cannot be termed as beneficial legislation but like any other civil legislation.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rivona resident files criminal complaint against mining firms

Herald Correpondent
Quepem, Jan 19

A resident of Chudiamol-Colomba in Rivona has filed a criminal complaint against mining companies, operating in different parts of Colomba, Rivona and Surrounding areas.

In a complaint filed before Quepem and Sanguem police, Dumiana D’Souza has stated that mines managers of nine mining companies, which are allegedly transporting iron ore via Colomba – Rivona – Tilamol to Curchorem, are loaded above permissible limits.

“to facilitate overloading, most trucks have raised the height of the cargo by fixing iron or wooden planks above the cargo,” alleged D’Souza in her complaint.

She further stated that overloading of trucks is going on in violation of the High Court order dated January 29, 2002, passed in a writ petition in utter disrespect to the notification dated December 15, 2007 issued by the Director of Transport and in contravention to the special condition laid down in the mining leases and environment clearances.

She has filed complaint under Sections 268, 269, 270 and 278 of IPC, section 133 of CrPC, Section 40 of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981 and Section 2(22), 37 of Goa Public Health Act 1985.

Since trucks are overloaded, there has been a spillage of ore over the entire route from Colomba to Curchorem, especially where there are speed breakers, where the road is uneven and where there are turns,” she complained.

“Spillage gradually turns into dust, which in turn causes health hazards to the pedestrians, school children and those residing in the vicinity. Sometimes, big ore stones fall on the road causing danger to human life.”

The complaint further states that dust pollution caused by spillage of Ore from the overloaded mining trucks were the main cause of air-related diseases like asthma, etc. besides, overloading of mining trucks results in a number of accidents.

In the interest of general public, D’Souza appealed to the authorities to initiate stern action against all the mines managers of the mining companies operating in these areas under IPC, Criminal Procedure Code, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981 and Goa Public Health Act for endangering public health and jeopardizing the safety of public life.

Herald, 20 January 2010

Kurdi locals accuse mining firm of destroying forest

Herald correspondent

Saanguem, Jan 19

Residents of Kurpem and Kurdi wards of Wadem-Kurdi have bitterly complained of the massive destruction of forest by a mining company in the area.

The residents have also charged the mining company for destruction of their agricultural plantation and paddy fields.

Irked with the destructive attitude of the mining company, residents on January 16 stopped the construction work of the road by mining company through a private land after cutting large number of forest trees.

Vilalgers led by Anant Gaonkar and Rajendra Velip said due to unplanned mining activity in the village, turbid water and mining rejects flow into their paddy fields and agricultural plantation, thereby affecting the productivity of agricultural produce.

The paddy fields are located barely at a distance of about 40 mts from the mining site and mine owner seems in no mood to bring under control the wanton destruction caused to the agricultural plantations.

The villagers also charged the company for being hand in glove with some villagers and undertake the mining activity with their blessings.

Sarpanch Arun Matkar claimed that the panchayat has not given any permission to the mining company to construct the new road in the village by cutting a large number of tress.

The villagers have urged the government, particularly the Director of Mines and the forest department, to conduct an inquiry in the matter and relieve the villagers of the destruction caused to their agricultural plantation.

Herald, 20 January 2010

Patnekar vows to indefinitely stop mining trucks in Bicholim

Herald Correspondent

Bicholim, Jan 19

Bicholim MLA Rajesh Patnekar and people from Bicholim on Tuesday vowed to indefinitely stop mining trucks plying through the city.

It may be recalled that Patnekar and counselors of Bicholim Municipal Council (BMC) at a press conference earlier had convened a meeting of all the people, who are against mining trucks plying in the city, at BMC hall on Tuesday.

There has been constant agitations in the taluka in protest against the mining transportation since the last four years. Besides, trucks from Sirsaim and Maharastra, which enter the State, use roads in Bicholim.

The agitations have been sparked due to accidents, pollution, overloading of mining trucks and police authorities incompetence in keeping a check over mining activities.

In view of this, Bicholim MLA Patnekar had said the problem should be solved once and for all and a meeting to this effect was called on Tuesday. About 100 people attended the meeting and expressed displeasure over mining traffic in the city.

Some people suggested alternative suggestions, while other asked to carry out a massive agitation involving people from Bicholim.

Patnekar told the people that meeting was called to chalk out a final action plan and an action committee was formed to stop mining trucks plying from Bicholim.

On Thursday, we will submit a memorandum to the deputy collector and will give an ultimatum of five days and from Tuesday, all mining trucks plying from Bicholim city will be stopped,” Patnekar told reporters.

“We have formed an action committee and have decided to stop all the mining trucks plying from Bicholim, as it is posing a danger to the life of the general public,” said Patnekar.

BMC councilors, panchas of various panchayats and prominent persons from the city were present for the meeting.

Herald, 20 January 2010