Saturday, July 31, 2010

Villagers of Tilamol Curchorem submitted memo to the Dy-Collector

The people likely to be affected by land Acquisition for Tilamol Cortali Road widening on Friday 30th July 2010 submitted a memorandum to the Dy-Collector Quepem opposing the acquisition of land to make the road 4 lane from Tilamol to Curchorem and from Curchorem to Sanguem Court.

It may be recalled that on 22/6/2010 government issued a notification for widening of Tilamol Sanguem road , that since then people are opposing the road widening of the road by conducting corner meetings abd by filling objection. That on Friday morning around 200 affected villagers of Tilamol, Cacora, Curchorem, Bansai, Cacumordi and other villagers gathered at the office of the Dy-Collector Quepem and later submitted a joint memorandum to the Dy-Collector demanding to withdraw the notification for land acquisition.

The memorandum stated the PWD before proposing to make the Tilamol Sanguem court road a four lane one no traffic survey has been done, as the existing road which has the capacity of 150 vehicles per hours is sufficient for another 15 years as the present traffic flow on the road is just 30 to 50 vehicles per hour.

The memorandum further states that under the garb of public cause the government is planning to widen the road for the benefit of the mining industry by spending 500 cr. Of public fund which is illegal and unjust.

That Curchorem is 5th most populated municipality of Goa with a population of 30,000. Kakoda health center and other two major hospital namely Dr. Sonu Kamat and Dr. Satish Kudchadkar are right on the road. Twelve schools with 6000 secondary and 3000 primary student commute on this road. No where in the world dirty cargo like iron or is hauled through the heart of such a town, not even in Bihar and Jharkand states that memorandum further.

That due to the acquisition immense losses will be cause to the houses, shops, compounds, trees, Crosses, Tulsi-Vrindavans and parking spaces will be affected. That agricultural land being acquired are tenanted and are under Command Area Development Authority , such land cannot be acquired. Mining transport is already affecting the public health, sanitation agriculture and horticulture widening the road to make way for 4 lane will aggravate the problems states the memorandum further.

That as the local self government namely the Xeldem panchayat and the Curchorem Cacora Municipal Council disapproved the widening project, the administrative approval for the road widening is illegal in view of 73rd and 74th amendment to the constitution.

That as the last date for filing the objection ends on 6th of August the affected villagers sought extension of time by another 15 days to file objection.

The Dy-Collector Agnelo Fernandes assured the villagers to look into matter and to do the needful.

John Fernandes

It is not enough to be anti-mining

Nature Environment Society and Transformations (NEST) organized its third lecture in the series of Bikram Dasgupta memorial public lecture series on July 29, 2010 at Bal Bharati high School, Ribandar, Goa. The lecture “Goa: from trading port to tourism destination” was delivered by Raghuraman Trichur, Associate Professor & Department Chair in Anthropology at California State University, Sacramento, USA. Here are some notes from his lively lecture.
Discussion is important for knowledge production. Divides between various social sciences are artificial meant only to protect fiefdoms. Classical political economy is an area where all the subjects are rolled in one. It opens up intentions into actions and opens up various ways of opening up.
In Goa there is no connectivity in what historians say. There is no connectivity established to connect past with the present. Now how to see the connection between past and present? Goa history is a collection of evidences in the form of archival documents. It is like a Bollywood movie that has great characters but no story line to it. We all are living in capitalist society that is held together by conflicts. These conflicts unfold in various manners such as tourism, communalism, mining, racism etc.
Why tourism is so prevalent activity in Goa? Why Goa is dominated by tourism and mining? That is because certain forces are prevalent in Goa. They are called merchant capitalism that involves buying at cheaper rate from someone and selling the same at higher rate to someone else earning surplus in this trade. There are other two varieties of capitalism that is not dominant in Goa namely Industrial capitalism and Finance capitalism. Merchant capitalism in Goa developed in historical way. It is a part of colonialism. Portuguese wanted control of the port to source material from Asia to Europe directly. Earlier trade from Asia used to reach Europe via innumerable intermediary traders. The so called discovery of sea route to India by Portuguese sailor done away with need for intermediary traders. Merchant capitalism has its origin here. With direct trade from Asia to Europe (and also from Latin America to Europe with so called discovery by Columbus) merchants were becoming stronger that caused decline in influence of Feudal and Royal families. However merchants were culturally marginalized, example Jews.
Conversion to Christianity in Goa has not always been with the use of force. Lots of people also converted willingly to escape tyranny of prevalent caste system during Portuguese rule.
Portuguese carried on their colonial administration in Goa through auctioning of revenue collection system. Brahmins in Goa has a characteristic that is different to Brahmins in the rest of India. They are both landowning as well as businessmen. In fact they are merchants first before getting involved in mining. In the 19th century Portuguese Colonial power declined but local elites in the colonies became stronger in local economies. Portuguese had to depend upon local merchants to keep its colonial enterprise afloat.
Post colonial period economy and politics was dominated by elites. This was done through continues engagements in reproduction of dominance and eliminate everyone else. One example to this is in 1990s downfall of Du Pont project in Keri, Ponda was influenced by mining lobby that is dominated by merchant capital. If Nylon 6,6 had to come to Goa then power and influence of dominant elite would have eroded.
1960s witnessed rise of tourism in Goa. This is a historical response of marginalized population of Goa with eye for survival. Five star tourism institutions want to get rid of peasant households on coast. Peasant households erode five star type of tourism through their participation a control in the tourism trade on Goa Coast.
In Goa’s mining industry no processing neither value addition taking place. Merchant Capital and it is very exploitative in mining in hinterland and through environmental costs in tourism. Both do transfer of money and not products.
Tourism did not challenge the dominance of elites. Goa has a particular type of development – short circuit!
It is not enough to be anti-mining or anti-something alone. It is a distraction towards strategy to create power of the excluded people. There is a need to strategize to erode the influence of mercantile capital. In this process it is important to go back to the study of classical material and re-read. You may find gems for your strategy. We don’t have to be destructive but creative and consistent to be successful in the struggle.
Elites in the Merchant capital do many things to deep themselves in dominant position. Writing history is one of them. It is an act of power. Philanthropy is another thing that elites resort to keep themselves in power. There is a need to expose the nexus of dominance of merchant capital in Goa. Mahasweta Devi once asked “Why would soldier wield the sword? Obviously a sword is to eliminate the bad guy!” Pen is more powerful than sword. It is used to write, to convey, and to inform. We have the evidence but not able to connect and interconnect.
During Portuguese rule Ganvkaris were brought under the influence of few families. Rights were changed to ownership rights. Process of state formation is selective process involving only those were are politically engaged.
Tourism in Goa has been important process of confidence building for large number of people in Goa. There is a need to recognize history making ability of people. Historian of Goa has written partial history. We need to politicize what we learn.
There is need to capacity to understand diverse types of capitalism in the world simultaneously. In Goa there is primitive accumulation of capital through real estate as well as mining.
There is a need for creating new forms of resistance like environment movement. There must also be coordination between politics of mining protests groups with tourism protest groups. There is also the need protect state services like Health, Education etc. In 1980s 70% of the price was controlled by the State. Private sector had control over only 30% of the global price determination process. Now the private sector seeks to influence remaining 70% of the economy too. This will drastically push large number of people into marginalized position.
Why we need public-private partnership in Hospitals? Why can’t we just improve public hospitals? In fact public hospitals in Goa like GMC are better and affordable. The aim of private elements is just to exploit.
There is need in Goa to form a small voluntary study group dedicated towards study of classical literature such as 3 volumes of 'Capital'.
Raghuraman Trichur has authored an article titled “Politics of Goan Historiography” wherein his arguments are further elucidated. He also has worked on Goa for his doctoral studies in late 1990s.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Goa: from trading post to tourism destination

Nature Environment Society and Transformations (NEST) invites you to public lecture "Goa: From trading post to tourism destination" by Dr. Raghuraman Trichur, Associate Professor and Department Chair, California State University, Sacramento, California, USA on 29 July 2010 at 3.30 pm at Bal Bharati High School, Ribandar, Goa.

Prof. Trichur has completed his doctoral studies on Goa a decade ago and follows developments unfolding in Goa ever since. The lecture is organised as part of ongoing Dr. Bikram Dasgupta memorial public lecture series. This is a third in the series.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Himanshu Kumar on why Indians should support Tribals in their resistance...

Himanshu Kumar speaking in the midst of his 3 month long cycle yatra, explains why the nation should support the tribals in their resistance against the govt.

He says that if the govt. wins this battle, it will drive them to winning the war and grabbing land from people illegally and unconstitutionally will become the order of the day.

He urges the activists across the country to get off the net and go amidst the people. That simply by sitting and writing on the internet, one cannot create pressure on the govt. Till such time we don't go amongst the masses we won't be able to awaken them or pressure the govt. to deliver justice to all its citizens.

He urges the people to go to the masses and learn about the grassroot resistance across the country and to support them.

The YouTube Video:

Friday, July 23, 2010


We – the people of India from various organizations, working for the rights of women irrespective of caste, class and religion – demand that the Women’s Reservation Bill, mandating 33 per cent reservations for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, be passed in the Lok Sabha without delay. The passage of the Bill in the Rajya Sabha has been a significant step. However the Bill cannot become the law of the land unless it is passed in the Lok Sabha and endorsed by at least 15 state assemblies.

Ensuring reservations for women in the panchayats and urban local bodies has facilitated the entry of millions of women across the spectrum into the public arena. Today, women from all castes, classes, religions and regions are actively discharging their responsibilities as sarpanchs, panchayat members, zilla parishad chairpersons, block development officers, mayors and in innumerable other capacities in different states of India. These women have faced tremendous hurdles in their bid to participate in elections and assume leadership positions. Today they have emerged triumphant and are role models for their community and country. While their presence has great symbolic value, these women have also been able to bring to the fore many important social and gender concerns and agendas. This positive example needs to be strengthened and replicated at all levels.

Women’s representation in Parliament is vital on grounds of social justice and for the legitimacy of the political system. Like class and caste, gender is a social-political-economic category, with the three aspects intersecting seamlessly. Empirical evidence demonstrates that ‘women’ as a category have been subjugated over the years, accorded a lower status and deprived by society in every manner possible.

We believe the argument that the Bill discriminates against Dalits and OBCs is misleading. As far as the representation of Dalit women is concerned, the Bill provides for 33 per cent seats for women in the existing 22.5 per cent SC/ST quota.

With regard to the representation of OBC women, it needs to be understood that even without the aid of reservations, OBC representation in the state assemblies and Parliament has increased significantly, especially after the Mandal Commission’s recommendation came into force. In the present Lok Sabha, 30 per cent of the 50 women MPs - 15 in all - belong to the OBC category. It needs to be reiterated here that in constituencies where a male OBC candidate can win, so too can a female OBC candidate. Therefore, the Women’s Reservation Bill will not see a decline in OBC representation with Parliament or the state assemblies; it will merely ensure a larger number of women among the OBC members.

While the gross under-representation of Muslims in Parliament and state assemblies – both men and women -- needs redressal , this can hardly be resolved within the ambit of the Women’s Reservation Bill. The Ranganath Mishra Commission recommendations have emphasized the need for minority reservation in education and employment, and we would strongly recommend the immediate provision of 10 per cent reservation in educational institutions and in jobs for Muslims belonging to the backward classes.

As women we stand in solidarity with Dalits, OBC communities, Tribals, Muslims and with all secular forces in the fight for the advancement of all communities. We also stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all the women in the country for the advancement of their rights.

We call upon all political parties in Parliament to come together and ensure the smooth passage of the 33% Women’s Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha without delay. We appeal to all progressive forces to strongly and vocally support the cause of women’s rights and equality in India. Please sign this petition and circulate it widely.


July 29, 2010 from 11 am to 2pm.
at Jantar Mantar

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gain maximization for a few Vs risk minimization for all: Choice that society will have to make to survive the 21st century

Sagar Dhara[1]

Impending crisis

Tipping points: We face three tipping points today, each with the potential to collapse human society. The first is peak oil which has the potential of triggering a deep global recession in the near future. Alternative energy sources—nuclear and green—show bleak prospect of becoming viable replacements. The second is global warming, which is predicted to drastically impact the environment, human health and livelihoods. Humans have wonked the carbon cycle to such an extent that it won’t get fixed for a long time to come. And the last is the recent rapid deterioration of the life support systems—land, water, air and biodiversity—the environment provides, as a consequence of its overuse.

Inequity: A continuous widening inequity—income, asset holding and energy consumption—has caused greater global instability and conflict.

Impacts: The likely impacts of the three tipping points are predicted to be very wide ranging:

· Rise in mortality and morbidity due to lack of work and consequent decrease in nutritional intake, spread of vector-borne diseases due to temperature rise, extreme weather events such as storms, floods, drought, and increased lawlessness;

· The creation of environmental exiles due to sea rise, drought, glacial lake outbursts, floods that will occur at increased frequency due to glacial melt, and extreme weather events;

· Loss of food and water security and increase in hunger due to temperature rise, precipitation and soil moisture changes, desertification, acidification of oceans and water bodies, and decrease in eco-system services as a consequence of degraded environment;

· Loss of forests and biodiversity due to energy price hikes, temperature and precipitation changes, increased incidence of forest fires, conversion of forests to other uses, and decrease in eco-system services as a consequence of degraded environment;

· Loss of employment and work opportunities due to energy price hikes and consequent disruption of the global economy;

· Disruption of the global social and political order and consequently increased lawlessness due to disruption of the global economy;

· Increase in global conflict due to growing inequity.

Outlook of class societies: Class society imbues the outlook of gain maximization for a few, and in its pursuit, energy resources have depleted to a point where energy throughputs in human society will shortly become unsustainable.

Collapse of capitalism: All three tipping points are consequences of overuse of nature’s energy resources (stealing energy from nature); and inequitable distribution of energy/eMergy resources, with the energy-haves extracting and accumulating eMergy from the energy-havenots (stealing energy from humans). Capitalism faces collapse in the near future not so much because it is threatened by socialism but more because over-use of energy resources the irreparable damage to the life-support systems.

The human project todate

Development drivers: Energy and knowledge are prime drivers of development. Like all living beings, humans require energy. Other beings take only that energy as is required for survival, and perish if the environment does not provide it. Humans have historically continuously increased their knowledge of energy conversion, and have colonized high energy yielding environments, and have migrated to new environments after either depleting them or to increase their energy holding.

Energetics of nature and society: Just as the energy flows in nature can explain its working, energy flows in human society helps explain how society functions.

Surplus generation: The basis for the generation of material surpluses created by humans lies in the net surplus energy that the sun (nuclear and geothermal energies are insignificant in comparison to the sun) provides, either as direct or indirect solar energy or embedded energy in fossil fuels. That is, the net eMergy in a product or service is greater than the input energy/ eMergy into it, the difference being provided by net solar energy. Larger harvests of solar energy yield higher surpluses.

Surplus extraction and accumulation: Privatization of energy resources—energy converters (human and animals included) and fuels is the device by which energy extraction and accumulation is effected in class society. Land, animals and humans (slaves) were the first set of energy converters to be privatized as they were the easiest to get energy from. Water was the next to privatized (that process is yet to be completed) as it is more difficult extract cheap energy from it. The Kyoto Protocol is an attempt to privatize the atmosphere not so much for energy extraction as for waste dumping. Higher surplus eMergy accumulation with energy-haves leads to greater influence over the state and control of natural resources.

Complex societies: As surplus energy increases, division of labour, habitat sizes and complexity of society increase. A critical ratio of energy surplus is necessary for societies to transit from one mode of production to the next one that is invariably more complex than the previous. Many complex societies that followed the outlook of gain maximization, had collapsed in the past, eg, Roman, Mayan, Polynesian, etc, as they no longer could garner sufficient energy throughputs from nature to sustain themselves and caused much misery and conflict throughout the history of class society.. We face the same prospect today.

Boundaries and nations: Boundaries have been drawn since ancient times to publicly stake claim to the energy and natural resources available within the bounded area. For a long time, boundaries remained fuzzy, but capitalism has necessitated defining of nation state boundaries more sharply.

State: The state is potential eMergy that is converted into kinetic eMergy to facilitate the outlook that it espouses. In class society, it is the extraction and accumulation of surplus energy/ eMergy by the class of the eMergy-haves that belongs to that state. Societies that attempted to transit from capitalism to socialism, eg, East European nations and China, but retained a large and powerful state, allowed the state (and those who operate it) rather than people to control energy resources.

Human conflict: All human conflict—between nations, societies, classes, ethnicities, gender, castes, colours, etc—is driven by human perception of the difference in access, control and use of energy/ eMergy between people. Historically, most conflicts were largely around the possession of lands that yielded high energy levels or over energy resources. Resource wars have been fought from time immemorial and have intensified recently.

Politics: Much of politics has revolved around the control of energy resources. Global politics in the last 150 years has been dominated by oil.

Risks and benefits: The benefits of eMergy accumulation have largely accrued to the eMergy-haves whereas the eMergy-havenots have faced higher health risks whether due to local causes (air pollution, vector-borne diseases) or global ones (global warming, financial meltdowns).

Continuity in modes of production: When energy is used as a basic category, rather than value, to understand class societies, there is greater continuity between various modes of production in the manner in which surplus energy was generated, extracted and accumulated.

Negentropy: The Second law of thermodynamics states that entropy must increase with time. However, nature has seemingly bucked this law by creating greater order by creating increasingly complex life forms. However, humans seem to be going against nature’s project on earth by expending fossil fuels at ever faster rates, thus increasing entropy.

Immediate tasks

A civilizational collapse implies that the foundations of social fabric will be shredded—rule of law, food and water security, health, education and other social services. Attrition in terms of human health and life would be very high. The first task is to minimize the ravages of the collapse of capitalism.. The second would be to vision a new society that would not repeat the mistakes that the previous one made. And the third task would be to chart out a roadmap to get there.

Visioning a new society

Risk minimization for all: All species, barring humans, do risk minimization and not gain maximization. Their energy abstraction from nature is only for survival. The outlook of gain maximization for a few needs to be replaced with risk minimization for all, ie, all humans face the same degree of risk, whether from natural or manmade causes. Such an outlook implies that we have power down and become an equitous society.

Powering down: A drastic powering down from the current 12,000 MToE global energy use is imperative. An immediate way of doing this by moving towards a borderless world that allows people to migrate freely from low energy yield to higher yield areas. This will obviate the need for standing armies that together expend energy equal to one million Hiroshima sized bombs annually. It also means that future energy must come from harvesting the sun.

Equity: Development, commonly understood is = growth + equity + social justice, has failed. Growth will not happen after a short while as energy will not be available to drive it. Trickledown theory has failed. The road to social justice is not very straight. The most basic equity is that of access, control and use over energy resources. For this people must have control over their environments, therefore their energy sources, without which neither equity nor democracy is possible. The key issue is how to get the energy-haves give up their energy guzzling ways and how to tackle the Jevons paradox. A future society must ensure that energy resources (converters and fuels) large concentrations of eMergy used for public purpose (not for individual consumption) cannot be privately owned. In the ultimate analysis, we have to decide whether we wish to have equity between people, generations or species.


Some questions: The roadmap for a new society is hazy. There are many questions for which there are no easy answers. A few of them are:

  • If we accept that humans are a part of nature and not apart from it, what should our relationship be with it?
  • How much energy can we take from nature without disturbing it?
  • How much eMergy accumulation is good for human society?
  • How do we equitously distribute eMergy?
  • How do we power down?
  • Which renewables will work best for an equitous and decentralized society?
  • How should we define per capita sustenance energy levels?
  • How do we restore control over natural resources to people?
  • How can technology down-sizing be done?
  • How can re-localization be done along with true internationalization (sans borders)?
  • How can population control be achieved without tackling poverty and inequity?
  • Is all knowledge good? Or should we voluntarily eschew such knowledge that increases entropy and encourage knowledge that decreases it?

Social transformation: It is in the interest of energy-havenots (working people and not working class only) to discard capitalism and move towards a new society. In many small pockets around the world common people have been opposing capitalism in different ways. One that is more prevalent is opposing new developmental projects that make them lose control of their land, which is their source of energy and security. These struggles tend to remain unlinked with others of their like. Social transformation should not be defined as merely abolishing a capitalist state and replacing it with a “socialist” state, but must include moving towards people’s control over natural and energy resources, and also living in harmony with nature. No single party (which itself is an example of potential eMergy) or organization lead or complete such a revolution. Only people can.

Violence: Throughout history, incalculable violence has been used against nature (we divert the equivalent energy of 16 million Hiroshima sized bombs away from nature every year) and humans (in the last century, interstate, colonial and civil wars were responsible for 100 million deaths). The essence of equity is being non-violent towards the other, be that human or nature, for there is nothing to derive forcibly from them. If equity is our goal, we will lose all moral authority if we use violent means—whether by using (or possessing the means to use) violence, or use the state to settle scores or extract something from the other. If one of the fundamental issues we face today is extreme inequity, to get to think and act equitously, we cannot use the same level of thinking as we did to become iniquitous. All social justice issues and social change must now be done in an absolutely non-violent manner.

[1] The author belongs to the most rapacious predator tribe that ever stalked the earth-humans, and to a net destructive discipline—engineering, that has to take more than a fair share of the responsibility for bringing earth and human society to an apocalypses. You may contact the author at

Mining plans are now accesible under RTI

Information on mining plans for mining leases operating in Goa approved by the Regional Controller of Mines will now be freely available to the public as per recent decision (7th June 2010) of the Central Information Commission (CIC).
Earlier the Regional Controller had been routinely rejecting applications for mining plans in respect of individual mining leases on the grounds that the commercial interest of the lessees might be compromised if information in these plans ended up in the hands of rivals. Thus several applications for copies of mining plans in Goa had been rejected by the Regional Controller on the grounds that these could not be disclosed under Sections 11 (1), 8 (1) (d) and 8(1) (j) of the RTI Act.
Several appeals were filed before the CIC against such orders. On 5th February this year, the CIC sought assistance from the Ministry of Mines to settle the matter. The necessary clarifications were provided to the Information Commission by the Ministry of Mines in March 2010. The Ministry of Mines held that the following parts of the mining plan of any mining lease could be disclosed by Public Information Officers under the Right to Information Act:
a. The general information, location and accessibility of the mine as given by the mine operator in chapter 1 and chapter 2 of the mining plan.

b. Information about mine drainage, mineral rejects and disposal of wastes and other information provided in Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9 of part A of the mining plan.

c. The Environment Management Plan provided in Chapter 11 of Part B of the mining plan.

The CIC endorsed the stand of the Ministry of Mines in a two page order passed on 7th June which has now been posted on the Ministry of Mines website.

The Ministry of Mines has been advised by the Information Commissioner to have all its public authorities put up the various discloseable parts of the mining plans on their respective websites so that citizens do not have to file repeated RTI queries in the matter. Time of two months has been given to carry out this decision.

In the meanwhile the Goa Foundation recommends that all those who filed applications under RTI for information about mining plans should now file fresh applications for the information permitted by the CIC. The information that can be disclosed would cover most information about the mine, its approved dump management plan and environment management plan.

The applicant should also request for the relevant maps which are annexed to these chapters. The Goa Foundation is willing to assist any person in this process.

Dr. Claude Alvares


The National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) in a significant decision (and for the first time ever for Goa) has quashed the approval granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forest for mining in the Careamol iron mine Pirla village in South Goa. The mining was granted in favour of Jaisinh Maganlal in 2007 and was challenged by local group Gomantak Shetakari Sanghatan. The project was stayed in May 2010 ( by the NEAA along with the Pirna Mine of Sesa Goa. The NEAA quashed the clearance on the ground that the Ministry of Environment and Forest had failed to take into account the adverse impact due to mining on livelihood, the rivers and streams which adjoins the mining lease area and the long term impact on the ecology.

The main contention of the Petitioners were:

· the Company had concealed several crucial pieces information - the rich biodiversity including 2 ha of natural forests and cashew and coconut plantations in the core and buffer area of the lease area;

· the important archaeological sites 500 m from the mining site; the real impact of the project on the ground water and surface water sources.

· The Public Hearing for the Project was held 50 km away from the project site which made it very difficult for affected people to attend the Hearing. Those who could attend the Hearing were faced with a biased Panel.

· Several faults were found in the EIA report by environmental experts including the fact that the EIA report was prepared based only on the winter season and the hydrological and ecological impact assessment was entirely inadequate.

· Even though the Project site was within 10 km of two wildlife sanctuaries, no prior clearance was taken from the National Board of Wildlife as required by the Supreme Court in its order dated 04.12.2006 in the Goa Foundation matter.

The Member of the Authority – Mr. JC Kala – undertook a site visit of the mining site on 17 June 2010. He inspected the site and spoke to persons affected by the project.

In order dated 12 July 2010, the Authority has commented on the fact that the Ministry, by not requiring a prior clearance under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, had gone against the order of the Supreme Court.

The Authority held that the correct procedure was not followed during the public hearing as the Panel framed the minutes of the meeting almost six weeks later instead of reading out the minutes to the audience of the Public Hearing.

The Authority held in its order –

’11. the Authority has thus come to the conclusion that the EAC (expert Appriasal Committee of the MoEF) has failed to appreciate the vital impacts of mining on the livelihood of the people of the area and the long term impacts on the ecology and environment. It was also observed that the mitigative measures and the safeguards proposed can hardly take care or compensate the damage mining would cause to the area in the short and the long term. Authority also feels that the contribution of this inferior iron ore to the State’s exchequer does not call for striking a balance between development and environment protection of the area.

12. to sum up, mining of iron ore in this area is not justified on environmental consideration even without taken into account its effects on sanctuary and the eventual orders of Hon’ble Supreme Court on the distance in the context of Goa.’

The order of the NEAA comes at a time when the MoEF has imposed a moratorium on any new mining in the State of Goa.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mining silt invades paddy fields in Pale, Bicholim

Samir Umarye

Several fields in Ambeshi and Devulwada, Pale, were rendered
uncultivable due to the mining silt in the area.

According to sources, the silt which was on the roads has entered into
the fields, thereby damaging crops.

Speaking to Herald, Devanand Gawas of Devulwada Pale said there are
several companies which are operating in the area and some are
illegal. “Through RTI Act on July 4, 2010 we have been informed that a
mining company which is in operation in the village is not given any
permission and is totally illegal,” added Gawas.

“Due to these mining activities, our fields have been rendered
uncultivable and the authorities should look into this,” said Gawas.
In Ambeshi, several fields have been damaged as the silt has flown
down during the rain. The villagers have demanded compensation for the
loss of crops.