Approaching the theme
Natural economies were very common as the penetration of capital was limited. This is in spite of
Natural economies prior to entry of mining refer to direct dependence of people for livelihood on nature. The contacts were more direct without any kind of mediation. Their labour was the only mediation. It is labour that was required for the cultivation of paddy and harvest bumper crops. It was labour that was required in order to get their daily quota of fish. It was labour that was required in order to cultivate various types of vegetable in the and available with abundant supply water from natural sources. It was labour that was required for the people in mining belt to carry on their slash and burn agriculture –shifting agriculture - on top of hills. It was labour that was needed in order to collect various kinds of ripe fruits on the variety of trees in the forest. It was labour that was required in order to go in search of edible roots for their staple food. It was labour that was invested into going into the forest and collecting various forest products and then to transform them into various products for daily use such as brooms, mats, medicines etc. The large number of people in
Feudal economies that emerged in
The mass of people in mining had community sense of land ownerships. Their land control was bestowed in communities. These community land ownership patterns were disrupted by the colonial State and never repaired by post-colonial state in
Mining leases granted during the Portuguese colonial regimes fits into this complex legal context of alienating people from their lands. Mining leases numbering around 791 and covering over 67,700 hectares of land in 10 out of total 11 talukas of
Process of impoverishment thus has been triggered off with the above legal manipulations. Legally thus the entire people of
When the mining begins
Mining is one type of activity wherein the end of entire decentralization in governance becomes imperative. The nature of mining is militaristic. It does not tolerate any dissent. It needs all pervasive power over land, minerals under the land, and power of public opinion. It needs to find its ways to aggressively extract the minerals and ship it out towards
Protests against the starting of mining have been put down with Police force. Sometimes it has been done through lure of money and alcohol. The farmers are lured into the benefits of accepting compensation for the loss of their land. If they do not agree then they are implicated in some false criminal cases are forced on to compromise table. Whichever is the way of ‘sorting’ out the protestors the outcome is common the person, families, and communities are violently forced to cut their links with soil and land.
They cease to be cultivators. Poverty downs on to their lives and consequences are unpredictable. There are number of villages wherein this has been the reality in
But can one take this as indicators of poverty? Poverty is relative concept. If one has to judge it from the point of view of access to water and land then it is poverty for sure. But hold on. Here is description of my last visit to Pissurlem few months ago. One striking feature is a visible presence of cars in front of number of houses in Pissurlem. Another feature is prevalence of mining trucks in front of houses. Investigations reveal that large number of people in Pissurlem have opted to buy trucks and get into mining transportation trade due to close down of agriculture option. Some families have earned money to buy cars afford a life in comfort. How one does judges this? Mining companies are also supplying with monthly doles to families in Pissurlem as a trade off for silence of the Villagers. So people have got into the habit of accepting the monthly doles and become insensitive to the collective ruin of the habitat and life support systems. New mining leases in the meanwhile continue to get activated. Few years ago this village has suffered massive floods due to mining activities. Mining silt that got deposited in inside the people’s houses was over one meter thick.
Colamb is another village in
The above are only few glimpses of the deeply deteriorating situation due to mining industry in
Dinanath Gaonkar, Sirgao
Mining has been going on in our village for over 45 years. When I was young all these mining pits today were dense forest. In the forest we used to go around and pick our wild fruits, medicines and even we had our play ground on a small patch. All this has changed now. Mining companies – three of them has come about in our
The mining in the mountains has led to the washing of
Presently we live like worms in our village. Not only our paddy fields are silted but also our village springs and wells have gone dry because of mining. The ore extraction inside the pits has gone so low that the mining companies are continuously involved in pumping out of ground water with high powered water pumps. The underground flow has changed its course towards the mining pits. This has left all the village springs and wells dry.
Some people in the village has benefited as they operate mining trucks. But the long term interest of our village is terribly compromised and gradually it is becoming unbearable to stay in the village. Our ancestors came and settled here chiefly because there was plenty of water available here. But all that has changed now. Water in the village is becoming scarce day by day. Our village has changed from once prosperous towards poverty due to open cast iron ore mining.
Our future generations can no longer hope to live in this village if the mining goes on the way it going currently. When our villagers objected for the transportation of
Motesh Antao, Colomba
I am from Colomba village in Sanguem taluka. My family directly affected due to open cast iron mining activities carried on at the neighboring mine. Our agriculture is getting ruined as the siltation and water shortages have resulted in reduced production of rice. This is a case with many farmers in Colomba. Our traditional water ways has been chocked with silt that got washed with rains and got accumulated inside the water ways. This has also affected our daily schedules of life in Peace and harmony.
Mining is being carried on inside forest areas. We are involved in protesting against the mining industry in our village because it is deriving towards poverty. I as well as my fellow villagers are facing constant threats from the mining companies as well from the State Police force. I have been arrested due to my protests against mining nearly 8 times during past two years. My brothers as well as my parents too have been arrested and number of criminal cases are filed. Now I have to make regular trips to the Court of law in Quepem and Sanguem.
Police officers on two occasions beat me up at the Police station after calling me to the police station to collect information that I had asked under Right to Information Act involving details of assets of Police officers and their involvement in mining transportation.
There are all together 23 mining leases in my
Our roads have become very dangerous to walk and drive on. There are large number of truck carrying mining ore ply regularly creating dangerous situation of the roads. Accidents are regular phenomena and every now and then there are victims of accidents and some even deaths.
How do I make my living in this situation? How does my fellow villagers to make living when mining is doing away with our soil, our paddy fields, our water sources, our forest and our dignity? How are we to survive? I feel we can live peacefully and prosperously in the village only when mining is stopped completely.
Sharmila Naik, Advalpal
Now the situation is bad as the traditional water bodies are dried up due to mining. Natural springs of our village used to supply water to drink for our villagers. Women folks also used gather together for the washing of clothes at the springs. All this is now gone with drying up of springs.
In June last year due to mining our village got flooded. Mining silt was deposited into the houses of the people. It was very traumatic moment for my family and villagers. Few houses got badly hit by the floods.
Mining has also destroyed cashew crops and there are very few spaces left for us to carry on with our cashew cultivation. We used to get bumper crops every year but for the past few years not only the yield has deteriorated but also the places where cashew trees existed has been used for mining purposes. The large lake space that was used for the purpose of bathing of cattle has been buried deliberately by the mining company. Our cattle has no place to take bath now and mining has led to disruption of agriculture of our village.
The lease boundary of the mining company extends to the middle of the village main road. There are three mining leases that are in operation here. One mining lease is currently stopped due to High Court order to remove the silt that mining company has deposited in the village. Mining company has not adhered to the High Court Order so far for the past 4 months.
Now my family is forced to move out of Advalpal as there are no sources of living left in the village. Number of other families too facing similar situations. Where are we to look for our survival in the context of mining?
In May 2008 there was a major revolt in our village against mining. We marched on the mine site and stopped the work by force. Then we got together and protested outside the office of Deputy Collector, Bicholim for one week. Number of police cases are filed against us. Nearly 70 people have to attend the court hearings regularly at
Few people of our village who own trucks benefit from the mining industry. The rest of us get no benefit at all. In fact our village is losing terribly and I feel mining has to stop once and for all.