Monday, May 3, 2010

Political Parties in Goa assembly: consensus to destroy Forest

It is now no longer in a simmering state. Its out in open. It is secret exploded. Goa's forest must be destroyed! And this is not official but consensus amongst all the elected political parties in the Goa Legislative Assembly. It may be officially declared forest or lush green forest that has not officially classified as forest. The four examples shows this trend crystal clear.

The first one. The Thivim Cricket stadium in Bardez. Here it is legally recognized forest. Irrespective of court intervention giving some respite to the forest and thousands of forest trees, it remains one of the colossal political blunders wherein the elected parties has lost all of their wickets on cricket stadium. There is no difference between between ruling and opposition in Goa. No even the gap is cosmetic. In fact each parties irrespective whether they are in ruling or the opposition are in disgusting nexus either covertly or overtly with anti-forest, anti-ecology forces. Cricket in its commercial mode currently in place is merely money spinner. It is not worth that Goa sacrifices its forest for the sake of cricket. Our politicians cannot see beyond their nose for them not to consider the interest of forest. Sometimes I wonder if they have a nose at all. Surely they have eyes and they are hawkish in nature. They detect notes on their radar.

The second example. The Panchwadi exclusive 45 meters road through forest for mining industry. This is perhaps aggression on forest in its most refined manner. Land acquisition law has been invoked. The same law that British formulated in 1890s to further their colonial practice to tame India to succumb to its rule. The road is through dense forest. It is distance of nearly 14 kilometers. I have tracked through this forest along with few other and saw where the boundary stones are placed. Nearby is Maisal dam that supplies water for drinking and irrigation purposes. Sanvordem- Curchorem is already a dust and traffic problem that some people - in including Goa's leader of the opposition Manohar Parrikar as well as Chief Minister Digambar Kamat - claim will be solved with wide road through lush green forest. This claim can be described as most stupid that can come only from the agents of the mining companies. So here again there is consensus that the Western Ghats forest must be destroyed. Goa's political parties in the assembly has launched mission suicide. My complete support to people of Panchwadi who are opposing the exclusive roads for mining.

The third example. The Mopa airport. These are set of four villages whose economies are agrarian. The surroundings are green and forest is visible though it is not classified. Goa already has one airport and for small State like Goa it is fine and centrally located. What is the logic to destroy ecology, displace people and impose airport in Pernem. Problems of Pernem is feudalism that is so typically represented by its landlord Jitendra Prabhu. It cannot be solve with airport. Airport will only create more problems. But why all the political parties in the assembly sing in one chorus in support of airport. They are addicted, they yearn to suffer or perhaps already suffer gluttony of riches. Political parties in Goa are no longer rooted in soil. They are uprooted bunch of brats who can only imagine selling of the soil via mining or tarring of soil via airport. They suffer short circuit in their faculty of imagination. It has fused off. Political parties has lost something precious - equanimity. Few months ago during Zilla Parishad elections in Goa the airport affected people in Pernem boycotted the elections. They voted for none of the candidates as each of the candidates was from political parties and they found no merit in either of them. it is indeed very remarkable that they found the established political leaders in Goa irrelevant. Surely people of Mopa have some treasured wisdom. Our leaders are indeed irrelevant. They can became relevant only if they care for themselves to root back into the soil and get away from their current rooting in money bags and shady land deals. My complete support to People of Mopa, Pernem.

The fourth example. Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary. Till couple of years back there was no major trouble to the local people there. They suddenly forest department dug so called boundaries and made it impossible for the cattle to enter forest for grazing purpose. Human mobility into the forest is greeted with metal gate in Auli village. But most dangerous thing the forest department in engaged in doing in Canacona, Sanguem and all other forest in their jurisdiction is aggressive plantations of eucalyptus trees. These are alien species of trees that drastically change the natural composition of forest trees. In some places natural forest is felled by forest officials and these eucalyptus trees are planted. Now this is very stupid. No animal eat the leaves of these trees nor any grass would grown on ground where the trees are spread. These leaves takes very long to decompose. Who benefits from this? Perhaps some timber or paper industry. And now Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) is aggressively pursuing the policy of evicting people living the legally classified forest areas away from it. Why? because forest department cannot pursue its goals in full swing. it considers these people in forest as its enemies. The pressure is already being felt in Goa. In fact digging of boundaries and fencing forest ways with metal gates in Cotigao did not evoke strong response from any of the elected politicians in the Goa Assembly. Why? because they care for the people only at the time of voting. And that is once in 5 years. The rest of the time their masters are someone else. They may be anybody except the people who vote for them. Perhaps this is inherent flow of the representative democracy that we have in place. Perhaps it is time to think bold and do away with this kind of democracy and proceed towards more direct democracy. More direct in a sense that people will govern their lives without anyone representing them but will deal with bureaucracy directly or in in groups. They will directly express to the authorities not only their voice but also the voice of forest, plants, tress, insects, worms, birds, animals, fishes, wells, rivers, reptiles, amphibians, and every life form. It is time to venture out boldly, in diversity.

Sebastian Rodrigues

1 comment:

MAND said...

This raison d'etre for destroying forests is that in and around the year 2002, the Union Government had decided to reduce Goa's local Governance to just 3 City Corporations. The then Development Commissioner was given this message in Delhi to be conveyed to the Government of Goa. For this to happen Goa has to be rapidly urbanised. The talk about third district for Goa is exactly the road to this creation. The 6-laning of NH by piercing through the belly of Goa's villages and developing both sides of the NH into townships is also in this direction. It has to open up the forests and the fields for development and the first step is to pass a road, be it mission bye-pass or vison bye-pass, through them. The rest automatically follows. Dhabas, shopping malls, settlements, shanties,..................... Nothing happens without a reason. Destroy the backbone of Goa, its culture, indeginous people, codes, practices, ecology, demography, or else it could be a thorn like the southern States of India. It is nothing but North indianisation of Goa where the Ramanis, Prasads, Ahluwalias, Guptas, Jaitleys and the rest could feel at home. The demand for passing of the RP 2021 is to endorse this agenda.

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