Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Diary of Mineral Ore robbing in Bati, Sanguem

Diary entries by Gaurav Shirodkar

Date: 15/04/2010

Since the last four days trucks are taking ore from a supposed closed down mine in the Bhati area in Sangem, Survey no 11/0 & 24/0 at a rate of more than 12 trucks/hour. The Area lies to the left when one goes from Ugem to Bati, a closed down beneficiation plant can be seen and just ahead you come across the forest gate. The Trucks are coming from the road just after the gate on the left. There is a forest check post and various signs that publish that it’s a forest area. There is the forest plantation and Nursery on the same road between Ugem and the forest gate.

There are at least three exits from the mine which open on the road which then join the Ugem-Batti road near the Forest gate. Heavy activity was seen and the all the dug ore is scraped and filled in the trucks and been transported.

On April 15, 2010, when the survey was done in the area by Terence and me, minor accident had taken place on the road by the Mining truck and a fight had taken place near the temple behind which is Primary School of that area.
The trucks later merge with the Trucks coming from the Timblo mine near the Ugem junction and go to Sangem crossing the Sangem Police station.

Complaint Letters regarding the activity are been given to DCF South Goa (Madgao), Superintendent of Police South Goa (Madgao), Dy. Superintendent of Police South Goa (Quepem), Police Inspector (Sangem), through Goichya Xhetkaranchi Ekvot. No action has been taken yet. The Group Will now meet Secretay of State, Panjim tomorrow.

Date: 16/04/2010

After all the letters to various persons regarding the illegal mine no action is been taken and the trucks continue to ply the ore out of the closed down mine.

10:00 am: Abhijit Prabhudesai, Dilip Hegde, Seby Rodrigues, Hartman de Souza, Delan Dcosta, Durgadas Gaonkar & me reached the office of the chief secretary at Vidhan Sabha complex, Panjim. The Chief Secretary was busy with various meetings and we were told that he will be available only after 3:00 pm.

11:25 pm: One Meeting ends and waking out of the cabin was Allen De Sa (Superintendent of police, South Goa). Abhijit and Dilip confronted him and asked him about the Issue and the Letter that was submitted at his office the previous day i.e. 15/04/2010. The immediate reply was that he didn’t know about the case as he has not received the letter in his hand, as he was busy with the meetings, and that he would go through it today and take necessary action. He left.

11:30 am: After a long incubation and repeated urges we were sent to R. Yaduvanshi.
(Secretary of Mines, Forest and Water)

11:45 am: We enter the cabin of R. Yaduvanshi, and put forth the issue and ask for an action to be taken immediately. Hartman with his theatreic vocals added a stern and urgent notice to it.

After detailed discussion, proofs shown on paper and online through Google Earth, action was taken with the Draft letter (From Goenchea Xhetkarancho Ekvot) with instruction to the Director of Mine was handed over to us in a sealed envelop, and the meeting was fixed with the Director of Mines at his office at 3:00 pm.

Mr Lolienkar (Director of mines) was not in the office, we rushed into the office when he arrived. Dilip took the initiative and blasted on the Director and Abhijit with his Ground Knowledge finally forced to take action immediately. A team was prepared to go and inspect the site led by Mr. Shirgaokar, and to seize and seal if thing pertaining to the Ore robbery is found evident.

I accompanied the team to the site while the others prepared for a press conference.

One of the members of the team had left ahead (I don’t know the reason) and he met us at Savordem at the junction which goes further to Sanguem. He parked his car on a road ahead and accompanied us in the car. He asked me a few questions on how we came to know and other things. Just when we reached Sanguem, black rainy clouds gathered and the weather changed. We met the other car which was waiting for us near Sanguem Police station. This was the part of the team.

We all headed towards Ugem, followed by the Sumo (the other members of the team). When the Ugem-Bhati road was in sight I alerted the officers by showing them the trucks coming from the Bhati side on the Ugem road. The officers just kept quiet and did nothing to stop the trucks or even inquire why they were coming from that road when there are no mines (Legal/Active). When repeatedly told about the trucks the Officers told me those were empty trucks and were of no use to be caught, and when showed one of the loaded trucks no reply, and mute atmosphere was observed by the Officers (on which they are perfectly trained)

The were on the Ugem-Bhati road and the Storm broke, we could see a huge cloud of dust rising from the Mines and carried up by the Twister like movement of the air. Our car rattled as we moved towards the Forest Gate. The trucks still continued to pass us and me still continuing to get the officers attention on those.

About 16 trucks (3-4 loaded others Empty) passed us till we reached the Forest post, we reached the junction and some trucks were parked along the road. As we took left after the Forest Check post, we could see the Trucks standing on the side of the road, as we took a halt near the first truck all officers suddenly came out of their Mute Role and went into action, clicking photos of the number plate and others. One empty truck which was approaching from the mine side was stoped and was asked to be parked (the truck left after sometime).

I was told to wait back, while the team went ahead in sumo, stating that there might be complications ahead. I waited it started raining, we (The driver, Assistant, and me) took towards the mine, as we reached towards the mine road the officers who went ahead called (this is after 15-20 minutes after they had gone). We entered and crossed the gate and at the end of the road in the mine the sumo waited near a ripper dozer (which we reached in about 5 min) below a building. (the point to be noted is what were they doing for the other 15 min)

The site which was excavated was about 20 mtrs from where the dozer was parked. (the outside of the dozer was still hot and seamed it had stopped working just some time ago) i.e. the information had already been provided/leaked to vacate the mine.

Panchnama was done by the officials and the Dozer sealed. The Manager was taken for interrogation who confessed being the employee of chowgule mining company and they had started the work on the 12th of April and had dispersed about 400 odd trucks of the mine with the ore dump. The register was also taken from the security. Sample of the soil was collected for analysis.

1 comment:

Pandu said...

Well done, thanks for the detail reporting.

This direct action is the only way to consreve western ghats