Monday, January 18, 2010

Dr. Chachadi's scornful spite at Sirigoan villagers

Dr. A.G. Chachadi, a geologist attached to Department of Earth Sciences at Goa University has dished out scornful spite at Sirigaon villagers. In his "review comments of the technical report on assessment of the depletion of groundwater sources and land degradation in Sirigaon village, Goa and mitigation measures", Dr. Chachadi writes

"It has been found by the investigators (page 18) that the village Sirigaon receives 4 hours per day of PWD piped water supply throughout the year to meet their water demands. The reviewer of this this report having lived in Goa for 21 years in the proximity of the Panjim city has spent 13 years with 30 to 45 minutes of piped water supply with 4 members in the family. These villages are so lucky that they are getting 4 hours of PWD piped water supply. Even Panaji city does not get this luxury. The villagers need to be congratulated."

Sirigao villagers has gone to the High Court with PIL complaining about mining problems affecting their agriculture and water bodies. Goa Bench of Bombay High Court had asked NEERI to conduct study of the village. NEERI finished its study and linked siltation of agriculture and drying up of water sources directly to mining industry. Dr. Chachadi has written a report critiquing the NEERI report and submitted to the Court. Dr. Chachadi's position is hostile to Sirigao villagers and is aimed to benefit further mining activities of Sirigaon village that villagers has complaint as detrimental to them.

Dr. Chachadi had earlier had done very good ground water study of the impact of dewatering activities associated with open-cast mines in April 1997 based on sampling of water levels in several wells in the area. As reported in 'Fish curry and rice' book, the area of study was the catchment area of the Kundne River, a tributory of the Valvon river. Both these rivers eventually join the Mandovi River, south of Sankhelim. The Kudne river in fact forms a sub-catchement of the Mandovi river. Its total catchment area of 4325 ha is the mining belt with main settlements being Harvalem, Onda, Pissurlem, Kudne, Saleli, Bhuipal and Gaothan.

After this study that was tersely critical of mining industry Dr.Chachadi was trapped by various mining companies. Dr.Chachadi carried on various studies for mining companies and accepted monetary remuneration for this purpose. The details of these are available with Goa Foundation who had filed RTI application to further probe in this regard. This collaboration habit with mining industry has certainly led Dr. Chachadi to shower scornful spite on struggling Sirigaon villagers.

It is desirable that Dr. Chachadi discontinues with his loyalty to mining industry and align himself with Sirigoa villagers. He will get abundant blessings from Sirigao villagers.

Sebastian Rodrigues

This posting is based on relevant documents made available by Dr.Claude Alvares.

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