I have been to
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.
Take a look at
Mining has devastated
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
You can see the future of
Mining has completely desecrated
Environmentalist Claude Alvares says that the mining holocaust of
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
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.
Digambar Kamat, Chief Minister, Minister of Mines:
Mining has devastated
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.
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
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
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,