Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Is demand for State Human Rights Commission will solve mining created problems in Goa?

Few days back Dr. Nandkumar Kamat from department of Botany at Goa University made a poignant suggestion to begin solving of woes of Goa’s mining affected region in one of his mails to goanet mailing list. He pondered whether mining generated problems can be interpreted as Human Rights issue. If yes then why then cannot be addressed as such. Further he said that it is important that there lobbying work must begin to set up State Human Rights commission as a first step towards finding legal way out of the imbroglio. This is a very interesting interjection in the ongoing discourse on mining in Goa. This article is an attempt to explore this further.

In mining generated hardships to people in Goa a human rights issue?

To reply to this would be: Mining generated hardships in Goa is also human rights issue but in no way only human rights issue. It is directly human rights issue in a sense that there are over 50 instances of police repression on people resisting mining wrath in various parts of Goa. Some of the cases have also been referred to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) by people in mining belt of Goa. The rest of the aspects relating to water, air, traffic, forest, land, fisheries very tricky to interpretation as Human Rights issue simply because these are grey areas still being debated in various case laws. The large focus is still on the first generation of Human Rights. We in India have still a long way before dust settles down to recognize second and third generation Human Rights. Surely it would as the jurisprudence finds itself robustly grounded in near future.

It is not the only human rights issue largely because there is large number of government agencies – central as well as state agencies involved in the perpetuation of mining industry in Goa in the manner it is proceeding currently. Also lager number of dimension involved besides Human rights. There is an important dimension of security of country at risk with continues depletion of minerals due to exports. The country in near future will be left with very little mineral if every reserve is exploited for exports. There is sober silence on this aspect from intellectuals in Goa. Why? There is also dimension of conservation of minerals for domestic use in future. Our current rage of exploitation is reckless. We are in a mighty hurry to fill up coffers of British Vedanta (that owns Dempo mining company in Goa and Sesa Goa mining company in India) and rest of the brutish mining companies in Goa, build up economy of Japan (as we done it since 1948 after it was reduced to ashes after Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings by USA in 1945), and massive fuelling of economic growth of China. Our intellectuals in the centers of higher learning are yet to apply their minds to this aspect. They are yet calculate what is the cost of ore that we exported over the past 60 years, to which countries, which companies exported how much, how much companies profited, how much foreign exchange Indian government earned? How much Goa government earned as revenue since its liberation? How much colonial Portuguese colonial government benefited from mining industry so as to continue retaining Goa as its colony till 1961? What was role of mining companies in colonial state? What is the role of mining companies in governance of the state of Goa since 1961 till date?

It is not the only Human Rights issue also because almost every major aspect of Goa’s life influenced by mining industry. We hardly have proper audit done in this regard. We only have propaganda of the mining companies that reinforces hegemonic dominance of mining industry over Goa. As a result our minds are constantly filled with negative entropy. Our intellectuals in the centres of learning instead of countering this have involved in furthering this proliferation of confusion to the infinity. One of them Dr. Nandkumar Kamat has been circulating extracts of mining companies welfare work besides flamboyant sarcasm in prose as well as poetry full of innuendos on people involved in resisting mining industry (without naming them) as well as praises to politician from mining company. Another one Dr. A.G.Chachadi from department of Earth Sciences, Goa University in his reply to PIL at Bombay High Court at Panaji has heaped nasty sarcasm on people of Sirgao who has been active in their struggle for survival from mining industry. He carried on number of studies for mining industries and details ware furnished by Goa University in rely to RTI. Third one Dr. Untawale , former director of National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula publicly scolded Villager from Pissurlem who demanded that mining companies supply water to their paddy fields. This was on 1st April 2001 at Old Goa Panchayat Hall, Tiswadi. Later on he went to sign the report that in Panchwadi there are no mangroves even though it is densely mangrove populated. He did this in order to back up Sesa Goa’s plans to build exclusive road for mining through Panchwadi. This way scientist has been playing the role of traitors to the people of Goa recently. So mining hardships are faced by people of Goa are not only Human Rights issue it is more importantly issue of unethical practices by Intellectuals that includes scientists such as the above named.

Mining is also the issue of serious crimes committed by the economically powerful people in mining industry. It is also the issue of governance: how tiny minority has totally hijacked governance of State of Goa for its vested interests. It is also the issue of how certain projects are allocated in certain areas and others are rejected. For example why mining lobby did not like Konkan railway to go through hinterlands, why did not want Nylon 6,6 in Keri, Ponda; its all because it would have disrupted prospects of mining in these areas. That’s how you have mining companies’ eyes set on land in Keri, Ponda that is rich in iron ore. Mining is also the issue of power relations between communities. It is tug of war between money economy and natural economy. It is tussle between mining companies and Goa’s tribal people as their land is directly under threat and State government has bothered to demarcate tribal areas as constitutional requirement after the tribal communities were declared as Scheduled Tribes (Gawdas, Kunbis and Velips). It is struggle of survival for them as mining companies has been chocking any efforts to implement Forest Rights Act 2006 providing distribution of legal titles over lands to tribal people and forest dwellers. It is either political immaturity or outright co-option by mining companies that is preventing our scientists in Goa to articulate the way they are doing at present. It more likely that these scientists are on the pay roll of mining companies then any other reasons.

It would be tremendously amiss if one has to ignore the dimension of cumulative effect of mining in Goa. It is very important to asses over all effect of mining on the small state of Goa. Mining is just not the issue of people in the mining belt. People in the mining belt are the only first line of defense of the planet earth. They are not just struggling for their rights. They are struggling for the welfare of entire state of Goa who depends on water from the mining belt. They are struggling to maintain well being of every visitor to Goa so that she can breathe its air afresh without any kind of dust in their lungs. They are struggling for the rights of their children still tiny tots in nurseries, schools and wandering in nature. They are struggling to pass on their inheritance of the planet in all its bounty to the generations yet to be born. They are struggling to maintain and propagate the life style that needs negligible amount of metals and hence need for mining. They have an example of how to life that is one with nature and would never need machinery from Volvo, Hitachi and Tata-Hitachi to reap the planet apart. They are fighting not to get the scrums from the State of mining companies. They are struggling to build their power. They are struggling to build a new society that is already born and kicking with power its own formation. That’s what currently giving sleepless nights to the mining companies. They are enacting their planetary will in motion. They are not dependent upon scientists like those named in this article. They are full of compassion and will simply forgive these erring scientists as mischievous toddlers who are yet to learn how to walk some distance of quality life. I can say this confidence simply because after over instances of violent police repression on them they have never retaliated with violence. They simply went ahead with their life as usual, their struggle as usual. They have been distracted in their struggle. They have hundreds of years of experience of life and they have not lost their memory. It is continues motion of life in transition for centuries together.

Mining companies are unwarranted intruders in Goa who will meet their destined fate in the times to come.

About campaigning for State Human Rights Commission

I have been raising this issue on number of occasion in number of platforms. I did get some interesting revelations as to why it is not set up by the Goa Government. Once I raised this with officials from National Human Rights Commission at the one of the consultations organized in Bangalore in 2007 by MCRG, Kolkata. I was publicly replied that it is not set up in Goa because Goa government did not want it. I believed it was true because Ravi Naik had publicly declared this when he was Chief Minister. The one expert on law told me that this is not set up in Goa because there are no retired High Court Chief justice from Goa except one who would be its statutory chairperson. And if he rejects then it would render it non-functional. I support this demand but it is not the only forum where mining would be relegated for the redress of the problems. Problems have to be redress principally by those who has created them: mining companies, state government and global consuming classes. State Human Rights Commission if at all set up cannot become Jantar Mantar of mining affected people of Goa. For if this happens then it would be setting the unhealthy precedent of ghettoization and only mining companies stand to benefit from this. Mining issues will continue to resound its echoes in most unlikely forums and most unlike times as this is the current trend.

Central government (MOEF) already set up the round table on mining issues in Goa consisting of Mining Affected People, Mining companies and the officials from Goa government. It has also set up Western Ghats expert panel and Dr.Nandkumar Kamat is one the members of the same. It is important that these existing forums must be utilized to the fullest to solve the problems of mining in Goa rather than going for new forums. However it is important for Dr.Nandkumar Kamat to keep the interest of ecology as a priority over mining of Western Ghats. Dr.Kamat is responsible panel member who is to supervise brainstorming session on “How to manage mining projects so as to minimize ecological damage, and possibly generate positive outcomes”. This session is to take place at CES, IISc, Bangalore as per the minutes of the second meeting of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel held on 7th May 2010 at 10 am at BSI Coimbatore and chaired by Prof. Madhav Gadgil. Dr.Nandkumar Mukund Kamat as well Dr.Ligia Noronha both the members from Goa are recorded as absent for this meeting in the minutes.

I am not sure if Dr. Kamat continues on this panel. If he continues then he should severe his ties with mining companies immediately or it would be interpreted that he is representing interests of the mining companies the way he has been conducting himself over the past few weeks on Goanet. My good wishes are with Dr.Nandkumar Kamat whom I admired during my university days for his studious habit (he is one of the few faculties in Goa University that visit library very frequently), interdisciplinary approach (I publicly admired in his presence during one of the local history seminars), his ferocious argumentative style, for his public interest of causes in various fields, for his relentless writings, and for his courage in the face of daring foe. I hope and wish that Dr.Nandakumar Kamat that I knew in my university days comes out unscathed in the face of alluring mining industry. That would be the first step in solidarity with mines affected people of Goa. Demand for State Human Rights Commission comes subsequent to this.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Monday, June 28, 2010

Farmers protest land aquisitions in Goa

The state of Goa has commenced a number of senseless acquisitions of agricultural lands all over Goa. It is observed that all ongoing government projects have been planned only in Eco-sensitive lands which are also used as agricultural lands by us. The deliberate acquisitions of large Eco-sensitive lands for irreversible change is a lethal assault on our environment , our lives and the future of Goa.

We therefore resolve that no agricultural lands in our villages shall be acquired / allowed to be acquired. If the state government does not stop the ongoing acquisitions, we shall take all necessary measures to protect our motherland.

The Salpem - Tollem Xetkarancho Ekvott had organised a meeting at Rosary School Hall in Navelim to protest acquisition of fields 2,72,000 sq mts.

The PWD is acquiring fields for expansion of Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) and a buffer zone for STP. Total agricultural land required is 272000 sq.mts. As per common knowledge expansion of STP can be done in their existing land which is more than sufficient and also confirmed by Chief Minister Mr. Digambar Kamat, said Jose Paul Coutinho, he said further that the STP is having capacity of 7.5 MLD and the sewage entering STP is 1.5 MLD, then why acquire land when it is under capacity.

1. George Barreto spoke on forcible land grabbing for Sinquetim bridge.

2. Melwyn Pereira spoke on pollution of Salpem Lake and how the farmers had to stop farming due to pollution, how development of Margao destroyed Salpem lake, is that the real development?

3. Sidharth Karapurkar spoke that land acquisition act 1894 was a British act designed to grab land from Indians for the East India Company, so why is Goa government using this British act to grab land from its own people, they are acting like the British. He also mentioned that the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has written a reply to GXE and Goa government asking the Goa government not to acquire agricultural land.

4. Cruz Rodrigues spoke that Communidade land is thousand years old and that government has no right to acquire it.

5. Claudias Dias from Rawanfond spoke how the government robbed their fields and now they don’t have anything for livelihood and have to depend on petty jobs.

6. Sandeep Kambli from Mopa spoke on how government is acquiring land when there exists a airport in Goa, also Goa being small state it does not require 2 airports, and the government will close Dabolim airport after commencing airport at Mopa. The runway of Dabolim is enough to land A 380 which requires 3200mts length and Dabolim can be expanded to 4000 mts as per google earth images.

Sidharth Karapurkar

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mining, heavy rains floods Kushavati: Paroda submerged, highway blocked

By John Fernandes

The Quepem Margao Highway at paroda submerged under water since early Saturday morning as the Kushawati flooded thereby disturbing the normal life on this route. The traffic going to Margoa was diverted via Amona - Chandor side. The submergence of the Quepem Margao high way continues at the filing of this report in the late evening of June 26, 2010.

The heavy rain caused damaged to properties at Cacora, Shelvona and Amona. At Shelvona the house of one Subhash Chadra Dessai flooded with water thereby causing damage to the extent of Rs.2000/- while at Cocora the house of one Rosita Dias collapse thereby causing loss to the extent of Rs.35,000/- and at Amona the house of one Julio Dias damaged thereby causing loss to the extend of Rs.8000/-. No damage to life was reported.

It is a regular feature that every year Kushawati River get flooded at Paroda in the month July or in August when the down pour of rain is heavy. This year it flooded in the month of June itself. The Quepem Margao high way submerged at three places at Karale, near Paroda temple and near the Paroda Church. The main sufferer are the school children from Mule , Karale and other places who goes to Immaculate Conception High School which located across Kushawati river.

One Joazinho D’Cunha who is over 60 years of age and ,resides on the bank of Kushawati river informed that in his entire life has not witness Kushawati river flood in the month of June. The Kushawati River used to get flooded either in the month of july or August that to if it rains heavily for consecutive two to three. The present situation shows that some thing wrong has been done to the Kushawati River. Informed said Juazinho futher.

Rama Velip of Colomba informed that the flooding of Kusahwati river is solely not because of heavy rain, but it is mainly due to the siltation of the low lying area of the river and due to release of water from the mining pond of the mines operating in Rivona, colomba, Cavrem, Maina which are the catchment areas/feeding ground of Kushawati river. Rama Velip further informed that when it rains heavily lot of rain water get accumulated into the mining ponds and in order to avoid unwarranted damage to the mining pond/pit the mining companies lets out the water saturated into the mining pit/pond into the Kushawati river or into its tributaries which results in flooding of river even if it rains heavily for one day. The villagers of Colomba has even filed a writ petition in the High Court highlighting these issues informed said Rama further.

Mining discourse dominates Goa Revolution Day commemoration

Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP) organized a special program to mark commemoration of Goa Revolution Day that is known defiance of Portuguese colonial rule by late Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia in 1946. The program was held in quite evening in tribal hamlet of Bendordem, Balli in Quepem taluka in South Goa.

Program started off with welcome gesture by local member of Panchayat Bikhudas Velip. Few people spoke their views from heart at this meeting attended by many including local school children. Advocate John Fernandes was the first one speak after Sebastian Rodrigues had just finished introducing theme of the day and the historical significance of Goa Revolution Day.

Advocate John Fernandes was in his usual free flow with revolutionary fervor and spoke at quite a length setting the tone for the rest of the program. He observed that in current Goa there is freedom for three categories of people: mine owners, politicians and rulers. The common people are still oppressed. Hence there is a need for another revolution. Advocate Fernandes referred to the historical writings of Dr.T.B.Cunha that proves mining companies support to Portugal colonial rule in Goa. He said that it was mining companies that was responsible for the delay in getting Portuguese out of Goa. Mining companies are not concerned about common people. Biggest danger to Goa currently is from mining companies. In nearby Cavrem and Maina life of people is in constant danger. Its mountain – devapan dongor - has two mines operating on top of it – Sheikh Salim, and Magnum.

State government in collusion with mining companies has a plan to evict tribal people and take away their land for mining. There are also long term plans to make bypass road to transport ore to Betul for loading into vessels in Arabian Sea. Direct effect of every mine is felt to the distance of 8 kilometers in radius.

The need of the time currently is to support Cavrem villagers today and launch another revolution today against mining plunder of Goa. Don’t trust Digambar Kamat, the Chief Minister of Goa. He is a number one mining agent. He is responsible for Goa’s mining loot. Be alert and keep mining away.

Goa government is not implementing Forest Rights Act 2006 in Goa. This is so because mining leases are in tribal lands. This law is not implemented in Goa to favour mining companies.

Agricultural Tenancy Act implementation also suffers as survey under this law never took place in Goa. Cases in courts drag for 10-15 years. Landlords deliberately file cases on cultivators. Government not bothered about common people. It is concerned only about rich people.

SC/ST people are not yet liberated. Land acquisition for various projects are of common people.

Schedule Tribe Act is not implemented and tribal areas are not notified. There is urgent need to thoroughly examine if the fruits of liberation has reached the common people in Goa. There is an urgent need for strong revolutionary movement in Goa. Revolutionary way is the only way ahead.

Anthony D’silva from Ambelim, Salcete said that mining is making large number of people in Goa medically sick. It is causing urinary problems, kidney problems as Goa’s water dams are polluted due to mining silt and government simply supplies this water to the consumers. Its treatment creates more problems than purification. He said it is important to become aware in advance and take precautionary action against mining industry.

Abhijit Prabhudesai from Goenchea Xetkarancho Ekvott expressed dismay against mining industry. He pointed out that Sirgao village in Bicholim is destroyed due to mining. He called upon the villagers to unite and protect villages for future generations and not to let the mining companies to swallow up lands. He pointed out that currently world is facing food and water crisis and it is only going to aggravate in near future is mining industry continues its wrath. Government policy of distributing rice cheap at Rs.3/- per kilogram is meant to motivate farmers to give up cultivation.

Xavier Fernandes from Colamb, Sanguem in his fiery speech said that land is mother – matrubhoomi. Mining companies are defiling it continuously. He said that mining companies if they continue the way they are going about then they will finish the entire ecology. It is important to work physically and not to accept money offered by mining companies. People must unite to fight the State in Goa. Badruddin Mavany’s mine in Cavrem releases large quantity of lime inside the mining pits. This in turn pollutes ground water as visible from the Saptu Faterpekar’s home well in the close neighborhood. Pandits and Brahmis are hegemonising the state in Goa. He called upon youth to come forward and join the struggle. Mining has destroyed the agriculture in Goa that used to be the backbone of people’s economy. Mechanized mining is very dangerous. Temples constructed by mining companies are only to divert attention of people. He shard his experiences of Pissurlem visit in Sattari taluka. He observed that Dempos, Salgaonkars and Chowgules has finished of the village.

Lancia Rodrigues pointed out that mining makes people displaced from their land and hence it must be opposed. Money offered by mining companies are not so valuable and must be rejected by people.

Shanu Gaonkar opposed mines in Bendordem and shared about the recent struggled in his village. He thanked GOAMAP team for visiting remote village and offering support to the struggle. He said people in neighboring villages also needs awareness on mining issues. He said there is secret survey for the road through the village for mining company is currently going on and it must be opposed.

Bhikudas Velip, member of Panchayat, Balli panchayat shared his experience in fighting mining lease in his village. He observed that that is nexus between village talathi and the mining company. That is the reason he said the mining lease notice was displayed on village notice board after the last date to file objections. The corruption and mining onslaught villagers fought with two weeks non-stop agitation in the middle of the village. Chief Minister Digambar Kamat – who is mining minister for the past decade and half - was forced to retract on mining projects here.

Towards the end of the meeting resolution demanding cancellation of all mining leases in Goa and permanent ban on new mining leases was unanimously passed.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Notes from Dr. Bikram Dasgupta memorial lecture on 19 June 2010 by Markus Kroger

It was nice afternoon on June 19, 2010 at T.B.Cunha hall that witnessed passionate presentation and intense discussions on the topic ‘Co-operatives as a key to democracy, social equality and sustainable development: the case of Finland by Finnish scholar Markus Kroger. Organised by Nature Environment Society and Transformations (NEST) as a second in the occasional lecture series in memory of late Dr. Bikram Dasgupta.

Although it was not possible to capture all the points that came for presentation and subsequent discussions here are few of them:

96% of dairy production in Finland is governed by cooperatives. Finland has the population of 5 million people out of which 1.5 million are members of cooperatives with 50,000 employed on salary basis. Meat sector is 100% dominated by cooperatives. Agriculture and Forestry has 45% dominance of cooperatives. There is also large consumer co-operatives that are successfully posing major challenge to even international chains like wall mart.

Cooperatives started 110 years ago and soon its inception both left as well as right attacked them as it posed as new power house. However within 20 years it founded new political party. In 1920s this political party carried on agrarian reforms in Finland and distributed land and forest for landless. Cooperatives led to higher level of competition in the economy as they were able to get the products ready with low cost input and high quality output. For this reason capitalist later also supported the cooperatives as they too valued high quality of products. Paper industry also included the involvement of cooperatives. Historically paper industry has been the backbone of Finland economy.

From 12th to 19th Century Finland was a colony of Sweden and then later was under Russia ruled by its Czar. Finland was used by Czar to showcase its welfare facet as against its repressive military facet that was visible in Poland of that time. Finland benefitted from this footnote in history in a major way.

Finland is composed of different tribes and its economy and politics for a long time was controlled by Swedish minority in Finland.

Russia turned repressive towards the end of 19th century as a response to rising wave of patriotism. Cooperatives were a response to repression as formation was cooperatives was legal. Strong linkages developed between intellectuals and masses in Finland.

Finland witnessed civil war in 1918 when left wing and right wing political parties fought each other on streets. It was a bloody war as both the parties had raised their own armies and they clashed with each other. After the civil Finland witnessed ethnic cleansing; poor were massacred. Tens and thousands of people were put in concentration camp and killed by white army. Threat of Russian invasion continuously hovered over Finland politically and the three major power houses in Finland united to face this challenge: Cooperatives, Trade Unions, and Businesses. Finland witnessed land reforms in 1940s and 1950s wherein everyone in Finland got a new piece of forest land.

In 1990s some cooperatives in Finland went bankrupt as they has invested heavily in casinos indulging in gambling. Recently voting in cooperatives internal elections has decline as the new people are unaware of their history (of cooperatives). Also there are tensions between three traditional sectors like business houses stopped buying milk from cooperatives and instead purchase it from neighboring Sweden as it is cheaper than in Finland.

Lots of research input has gone into setting cooperatives in motion in Finland. In 1930s Nobel Prize was awarded to cooperatives for innovations. They had founded Agricultural Research Institute to facilitate research and innovations. They are faring well even in the face of global markets. 1930s and 1940s can be considered as golden period of co-operatives in Finland. It is the cooperatives that made Finland self-sufficient in food.

Education and Health care is free in Finland. Education has a major contribution from Cooperatives. People of Finland are known for their work in groups. Student movement in Finland is richest in the world owning assets worth millions of Euros. Co-operatives in Finland however do not propagate communist ideology or its affiliation to Russia. They are autonomous entities that founded centrist parties. They do not support communism in any way. The historical event known as ‘Russian Revolution’ that marked the take over of power by Bolshevik party is more of capture of power by force after losing elections from the farmers unions – kulaks by industrial workers. Agricultural unions were destroyed in this process in a systematic manner. Finland had a good army at the time of Russian revolution and could have very easily intervened to defeat the ‘revolution’. However the ruler of the time thought with foresight and considered Russian revenge later would be too costly for Finland and did not initiate armed aggression in 1917.

Currently Finland is attracting many nuclear power plants that are shut down in various parts of Europe. There are protests taking place there and one of the groups visible in protests is Greenpeace. AREVA from France is also setting up nuclear plant in Finland that has run into various types of problems. AREVA is also setting up world’s biggest nuclear power plant in Jaitapur, Maharastra in konkan region threatening ecology and triggering off major protests currently in Maharastra.

Sebastian Rodrigues welcomed and introduced the topic and speaker, while Advocate Jatin Naik proposed vote of thanks. Around 12 people were present for this program. Hall was allowed to use free of cost by its management particularly Naguesh Karmali. NEST appreciate this gesture with gratitude.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mining transport continues in rains, violates administrative order

Every year mining transport from June to October remain close down. However this years though almost 20 days has been passed since the beginning of rainy season the mining transport via Quepem town is still going on that too in violation of the administrative order passed by the Collector of South Goa and the Dy-Collector of Quepem. Thank to the lenient approach of the respective police in implementing the order against the mining.
That mining transport which is still in operation from one of the mine operating at Maina of Quepem taluka starts at around 5.30AM in the morning and even continues in full swing from 7 to 8AM in utter disrespect to the Dy-collector order dated 4/6/2010.

The Dy-Collector order dated 4/6/2010 states that in view of the opening of the schools from 7/6/2010 and for the safety of student this office prohibits the mining trucks from the road from 7.00AM to 8.00AM and 1.00PM to 2.00PM so that the students from these areas can safely reach to school in time and reach their residence. The work of implementing the order is entrusted to the respective police station. However in violation of the said order of the Dy-Collector the mining transport via Quepem town is going that too in front of the Quepem police deputed in Quepem town. The operation was going on even on Monday (21/6/2010)

Sources informed that the operation of mining transport going on early morning and continues between 7 am to 8 am endanger the life of the students as school going children find it difficult to pass by the road or to cross the road. It also affect the farming community as it being a rainy season the farmers from Ambaulim and other areas prefers to go to their paddy field with their Yolk ( bull) early in the morning.

On Francis Fernandes from Ambaulim complaint “operation of mining transport early morning not only disturb our sleep but it also affect us while going to our paddy field with our cattle.” He further informed that the spillage of ore on the road turns the entire road slippery.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Goa Revolution Day resolution voted to cancel all mining leases in Goa

In a public resolution demanding cancellation of all the mining leases and ban on further mining leases was passed towards the end of Goa Revolution day meet on June 18, 2010 in Benurdem, Balli, Quepem. There has been consistant movement of people from all over Goa to halt marauding mining industry in Goa.

The program was held in local school after the class hours late evening was attended by students, youth and triabal people from Benurdem.

Number of people who spoke on the occasion includes Lancia Rodrigues, Bhikudas Velip, Shanu Gaonkar, Xavier Fernanades, Anthony D'Silva, Abhijit Prabhudesai, Advocate John Fernandes and Sebastian Rodrigues.

Program was organised by Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP) and was attended by delegates from Goenchea Xetrancho Ekvott (GXE), GAKUVED, Colamb, Morpirla, Paroda, Curtorim and Barxem villages.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

National Environment Appellate Authority Chairman visits Careamol Mine

The Chairman of National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) Shri J.C. kala along with officials from Ministry of Environment and Forest, officials of Goa Pollution Control Board, Department of Mines along with the petitioners and concerned citizen on Thursday 17 June 2010 visited the Careamol iron Mine of Jaising Mangalji to g et first hand information about the site.

It may be recalled that the Careamol iron ore mine under T.C. No.80/59 to which Public hearing was held in September 2006 in Gomantak vidya Niketan hall, Margao the villagers of Pirla opposed the mine on the ground that the Environment Impact Assessment report submitted by the mine proponent is false and distorted. The villagers of Pirla in contrary to the EIA report which states that the Kushawati river is at a distance of 1.5 kms form the propose mine and there are no protected sites within a radius 10 kms. The villagers stated that the Kushawati River is just at a distance of 50 to 20 mts from the mining site and the Ponsamol protected sites are at a distance of 1.00Kms. The villagers also opposed the mine on the ground that the area is fully covered with forest land and large area is under agriculture.

That in spite of the objection raised by the villagers the Ministry of Environment and Forest issued Environment clearance to the said mine which was challenge by the National Environment Appellate Authority, New Delhi. The NEAA dismissed the appeal of the villagers, which was then challenged before the Delhi High Court who set aside the order the of NEAA order and returned the case to NEAA to decide fresh.

The chairman of NEAA along with other officials personally visited the site and got fist hand information as to how far the Kushawati river is from the proposed mine, how many rivulet are there in the mining lease, how many people will be affected. The chairman of the NEAA gave a patient hearing to the grievances raised by the villagers.