Friday, September 24, 2010

Tourism leave our coasts alone!

A call to protect India’s coastal ecology from irresponsible and unregulated tourism

EQUATIONS statement on World Tourism Day

27 September 2010

Speaking on the theme of World Tourism Day 2010 “Tourism and Biodiversity” UNWTO (World Tourism Organisation) Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, claims, “Tourism and biodiversity are mutually dependent. UNWTO wishes to raise awareness and calls upon the tourism stakeholders and travellers themselves to contribute their part of the global responsibility to safeguard the intricate web of unique species and ecosystems that make up our planet”. The High Level Dialogue on Tourism, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development, in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, the host of the WTD celebrations, will reportedly debate issues ranging from the economic value of biodiversity for tourism, to how to integrate biodiversity protection into planning for sustainable tourism. We wonder, if apart from the UNWTO itself, anyone else actually believes its propaganda!

Cashing in on Biodiversity

That tourism and biodiversity are mutually dependent is a myth increasingly being propagated. The UN International Year of Ecotourism in 2002 was an earlier global attempt to do this. The purpose these myths serve is to open the doors to the global tourism industry in ecologically fragile areas, and establish tourism as the new patron of conservation, dislodging the role and rights of indigenous people and nature dependent communities. Concepts such as the economic value of biodiversity promote the idea of nature as a tradable commodity, which suits very well a consumptive industry such as tourism.

Tourism is the only industry that sells a product it does not own! The coasts, the rivers, the mountains, the forests and the deserts – are all sold as tourism products – without acknowledging that these exist only because they have been revered as sacred, and protected in sustainable ways, by indigenous and nature dependent communities through their cultural, social and economic practices and their choices of lifestyle and livelihood.

A sorry tale

When one considers the coastal ecosystem holistically, both sea and landward, it is a miracle of rich biodiversity with varied degree of life forms - the sand dunes, beaches, wetlands, mangroves, estuaries, backwater lagoons and coral reefs.

  • Mangrove theme park at Pappinissery Panchayat, Kannur, Kerala

Constructed on tidal flats, mangroves and abandoned filtration ponds of thick mangrove vegetation, the site falls within a coastal zone, which is ecologically fragile. The plan involves construction of health clubs, watchtower, food court, recreation centre, conference hall, biotech toilets all proposed to be constructed within the mangrove and inter tidal area.

  • Velaghar-Shiroda, Sindhudurg district, Maharashtra

Earmarked for tourism development by the government, the local fisher folk are presently contesting land acquisition and eviction notices served by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) on behalf of a prominent Indian hotel group, which plans to build a five-star hotel and beach resort with aqua-sports.

  • Andaman Islands

Most tourism development here particularly in the popular Havelock and Neil Islands is in contravention of the CRZ Notification, 1991. A private resort in Corbyn's Cove Port Blair is located so close to the beach, that sea sand accumulates on the road and in the premises of the resort, which needs to be cleared periodically.

  • Seaside resorts at Mandarmani , Purbo Medinipur district, West Bengal

According to the local District Magistrate, construction and running of these hotels has resulted in an ecological disaster. Sandbanks were flattened and the natural vegetation, screw pines, were cut down for construction. Since roads cannot access most of the hotels, cars ply on the beach for tourists to enter or leave the resorts. Red crabs that abound on the beach, as well as other fauna, are crushed under the unregulated vehicular traffic. A rise in pollution has also affected the coastal marine life and dwindling of catch of the local fishing community. Despite the Calcutta High Court issuing a directive that no future construction would be permitted at any place in Mandarmani that fell within the CRZ, construction continues in violation of the court’s order.

  • Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu

Rampant tourism development has left no space along the beach and the immediate stretches of land adjoining the sea towards the southern side are completely occupied by the hotel industry. Amusement parks and water theme parks are the recent additions to attract domestic tourists. A theme park, which has planned its operation to cover 4000 visitors a day, has levelled the sand dunes to have an elevated structure for a clear view of sunrise and sunset.

This sorry tale continues along the coast– in Goa, in Andhra Pradesh, in Orissa, in Pondicherry and in Gujarat. Violations involve not just construction in no-construction zones, but flattening sand dunes; rapid coastal erosion; privatising beaches pushing out fisher folk and traditional occupations; letting untreated sewage into the sea, estuaries and backwaters; dismal solid waste management; use of unsuitable building materials and unsustainable energy practices; overburdening fragile ecosystems such as coral reefs and backwaters by increased tourist visitation; and pushing in consumptive models that leave heavy ecological footprints on fragile ecosystems.

Travelling the length of India’s 7500 km coastline is testimony to how tourism development in the pursuit of profits has failed to demonstrate stewardship towards either coastal ecology or the rights of coastal communities.

Coastal Regulation- a battle of two decades to protect the coast

The only notification for the protection of the Indian coast is the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification of 1991. No sooner was CRZ notified, than the attempts to dilute it began!

The first amendment to the CRZ Notification was because of pressure from the tourism lobby. The tourism industry argued that the prescribed 200 meters of “No Development Zone” restricted them from competing with beach hotels of countries where no such restrictions existed. They claimed the tourism industry would require only 25 to 30 kms of India’s 7500 km coastline, and hence relaxing the NDZ from 200m to 50m in CRZ Notification would not harm India’s coastal ecosystem! Under pressure, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) amended the CRZ Notification in 1994 reducing the NDZ area all along tidal water bodies. On being challenged, the Supreme Court quashed the amendment terming the step taken by MoEF as ultra vires, and restored the NDZ. This was a short-lived victory as the CRZ has been amended 21 times between 1994 and 2005, each dilution weakening the regulatory regime, many of these at the behest of the tourism industry.

In the last, few years there has been an attempt to replace the CRZ Notification with a management oriented Coastal Management Zone Notification (CMZ), a move that drew wide protests from coastal movements and civil society organisations, whose key concerns have not been taken into account in recent versions of the notification.

The recent move to exclude the ecologically fragile Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands from the ambit of CRZ Notification 1991 and to bring them under a separate Island Protection Zone Notification is another retrograde step, as it contains no specific regulatory provisions for tourism at all. Up to the year 2003, the construction of tourism establishments within 200m from the High Tide Line in the Islands was prohibited. Under pressure from the tourism lobby, this was reduced to 50m. Even with the diluted provisions, the violations by the tourism industry in the Islands are rife. We wonder what the case will be when tourism does not come stringently under the scanner for violations, past and future.

Sadly, there is little evidence along the Indian coast of tourism industry’s intent to be law abiding, let alone its claim of being a steward of biodiversity.

On World Tourism Day our call is “Tourism – leave our Coasts alone!”

To endorse this statement, contact us at

EQUATIONS, # 415, 2C-Cross, 4th Main, OMBR Layout, Banaswadi, Bengaluru 560043, India

Forests' cry

Yesterday evening and today morning I witnessed forest in Khotigao, Canacona being imprisoned in barbed wires of Forest department. Forest voiced its cry for freedom and liberation.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Live me in the open sky

Report by Sayantoni Datta of a seminar “Regional Plan 2021, Imagining Goa’s Future’ at India International Centre(IIC), New Delhi on 18th September 2010, and organized by Goenkarancho Ekvot.

‘Live me in the open sky’ written by Late Dr. Manohar Rai Sardesai captures the essence of what the people of Goa have tried to articulate in their participatory planning process for the Regional Plan 2021. Yet again Goan people have lived up to the reputation of being one of the forerunners informing ecological and environment discourses in the country. But while the Draft Regiosnal Plan 2021 does incorporate within it, flavours of the voices of people in Goa, the question is whether this process will continue in full authenticity, its implementation; and whether the plan will be adopted without changes by the Government of Goa.

Inspired by the Kerala model of development planning initiated by KSSP in Kerala, the Draft Regional Plan 2021 claims to be the outcome of a bottom up process of town planning whereby every single village and ward was engaged in a spatial planning exercise, which was in keeping with the principles of the 73rd and 74th Amendments in the Constitution. The planning exercise facilitated by a special Taskforce which include the Chief Minister of Goa, Former Chief Town Planner, Edgar Ribeiro, Architect Dean D’ Cruz, Dr. Oscar Rebello, Shri Blaise Costa Bir among others, has made an interesting departure from most planning exercises in the rest of the country. This is probably the first time the country has seen a state level village wise mapping and planning exercise of such detail; where urban and rural planning have incorporated within its logic and exercise securing of its fragile eco systems of ‘forests, mangroves, paddy fields and beaches which make Goa what it is’; where new ideas and economic models have been offered to investors in a state where land is a scarce resource.

Democratising Planning

The process adopted by the RGP 2021 in Goa has stemmed out of a large number of protests by the Goan people, at the forefront of which has been the Goa Bachao Abhiyan, who have insisted that the previous plan of Goa, RGP-2001, developed in consensus with only a handful of land sharks and the state, must be rejected and reformulated with every Goan citizen’s voice and stake included in it. The RGP-2021 is a fall out of these protests to democratize development planning in the State.

Given the larger issues of land grab, granting land for SEZs and development projects in India today, planning with people, and making these plans available to people, safeguards from the otherwise opaque processes that states have adopted with regard to planning in the rest of the country. Anyone who has attempted to understand how ‘development projects’ unfold in the state would have in their bag, a number of tales and horror stories of how difficult it is to access plan documents and files from the town planning authorities. The preparation of these ‘secret documents’ have invariably been outsourced to private consultant architect companies who draw up plans for the State, probably including several villages into blotches of suggested hubs, riverfronts, parks and industrial estates, without any discussions of its repercussions with local people living there and what it is that they want in terms of their stakes in the development process. Interestingly the RGP 2021 seems to have followed several detailed processes of correcting these blotches in the previous plan, such as redrawing the boundaries of settlements, locating all water bodies and even bird nesting sites and nature trails, which help animals to cross from one forest to another in village maps. Multiple sources such as topographical sheets, google maps, and the previous 2001 plan have been used in this exercise. As pointed out by Madhav Gadgil in a seminar on the presentation of the plan by some members of the Taskforce in New Delhi, ‘it would be useful to make all the village, district and regional maps available on free open source technology which can be made accessible to all people of Goa at a minimum expense’; this would also to retain transparency.

What is left for investors?

At the seminar “Regional Plan 2021, Imagining Goa’s Future’ at India International Centre(IIC) on 18th September 2010, and organized by Goenkarancho Ekvot, the hall was packed by citizen’s groups belonging to Goa Diaspora, environmental activists, and a large number of planners, and students from the School of Planning and Architecture. In admission one of the senior planning officials stated that probably the biggest conflict in planning today is making a shift from market based planning to plan by the people. Spatial planning must become an exercise which thus shifts merely from the various strategies of using and expropriating land for large development projects to also bring in its purview ecological and environmental issues.

The outcome of the research done for the Plan has clearly showed that land is a scarce resource, and with the current booming population in Goa, the per capita availability of land has only shrunk. There is also a harsh reality that land acquired by corporations has been left vacant or not used. Being a ‘leisure capital’ there are no dearth of individuals who have invested resorts, farmhouses and villas in Goa and Goa has also been witness to ‘speculative housing’ which is criminal, given the housing crunch for migrants and poor. Given the fact that almost 54 percent of land in Goa is of the eco sensitive type, probably a huge challenge for the Task Force has been to offer viable investment opportunities, in the midst of serious issues and impacts on the people of Goa of mining, real estate economy and tourism, all of which have played ruthless extractive roles.

To counter the antithesis of the plan, namely mining, real estate development and commercial tourism by five star hotels and resorts, an urgent request by the Taskforce to investors investing in Goa have been to think outside the paradigms. Can Goa be treated as a model of a sustainable society? Some of these models could mean adopting the concept of ‘slow cities’ for a city like Panjim, replicating projects such as ‘The Eden Project’ for mining wastelands, and adopting ‘village tourism models’ as in Hadi village, South Maharashtra which have helped the local people in benefiting from the tourism industry and also retained the original landscapes and bring a balance in the ‘green’ and ‘grey’ infrastructure. Along with this are some important NO’s which include no construction activity along hill slopes which should be declared as no development zones, no new mines should be leased in forest areas, no coal based transportation for power, usage of raw water by industries instead of treated water, and protection of sand dunes.

Translating the rhetoric to reality

Oscar Rebello, from the taskforce states that three kinds of forces have their interests interlocked in Goa’s plan, the ‘extreme environmentalists’ who don’t want a single tree to be cut, ‘the cowboy capitalists’ the actual strangulating class which is dominating the discourse in Goa, wanting to cut every tree or hill in sight and ‘the reasonable realists’ on whose shoulders rests the concern for the environment with practical concerns on livelihoods of lower and upper middle class and interests of the poor.

Matanhy Saldanha, Ex Member of the Goa Legislative Assembly talking about Goa’s survival interests states that the stability of any society depends upon its land. If land is gone everything is gone and development must be eco friendly, people oriented and sustainable for all improving the quality of life. Goan people, are not being able to afford a patch of land or house for themselves given the escalation of land markets. In the current situation land is being transacted among big hotel chains, those who invest from outside the state, those who are buying holiday homes and villas in the leisure capital, and NRIs with more foreign exchange.

It would be interesting to see how dynamic processes including people’s lives and choices, of the market and governance unfold against the static maps created for the plan and whether the democratic processes will continue and how attempts at subversion will be safeguarded against. Furthermore in the maze of the mapping exercise, a point to watch is how far local village interests are collated into regional maps and what kind of development decisions are made on regional maps. Already some development plans have been inserted such as airports, a sea link, a second Konkan railway line and industrial hubs to contain industrial sprawl in nodes, though these are being refuted by concerned villages.

Furthermore the Plan is also interlocked between governance interests. Will this Draft Regional Plan 2021 be passed by the Government of Goa? How far will the State be able to negotiate its interests with the Centre? Rebello from the Taskforce pushing urgently for the plan to be passed states that it is crucial to restrict the indiscriminate construction and mining activity and escalating land markets in Goa, that the plan be adopted soon. ‘Rahul Gandhi must view Goa as urgently as Niyamgiri, and the Goans with as much endearment as the Dongria Kondhs.’, he added.

Confessions of a recovering environmentalist

Click here to read this interesting essay by Paul Kingsnorth.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Angonn 1 – First All Goa Meet of concerned villagers

Angonn 1, the first All Goa Meet of village groups organized by Goenchea Xetkarancho Ekvott (GXE), was a roaring success, with more than 130 dedicated grass-root activists participating in the day long deliberations at Margao today.

The participants, who shared their experiences, ideas, perspectives and dreams, included representatives from 58 villages, covering all the 11 talukas of the State. Various important issues related to the well-being and development of the State and its inhabitants, including water and food security, the plight of farmers, tribals and other residents, and other socio-economic and environmental issues were examined in detail by the participants in their presentations. The impact of the present policies being forced by the State on the present and future generations were also critically reviewed by the remarkable gathering of fearless and motivated social activists. The State policies with regards to mining, real estate speculation, land acquisition, tourism and industries were unanimously rejected by the participants, who also laid bare various evidences of the unholy nexus between greedy accumulators of wealth, corrupt bureaucrats and those voted by the people to 'save Goa', who are rapidly destroying Goa forever.

GXE again demands that the State and Union government immediately scrap all the anti-people policies with regard to mining, real estate, tourism and industries, which have been causing immense irreversible destruction within the tiny State. The legislators, executive and judiciary are hereby warned that unless they open their eyes, which seem to be blinded presently by greed, fear or otherwise, and act to stem the rapid destruction of the water, land and environment of the State, they shall be held responsible for the resultant sufferings of our children.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

NFF rejects MoEF notification on CRZ

The National Fishworkers Forum completely rejects the draft CRZ Notification 2010 put up on the MoEF website.

Given the fact that there are only cosmetic differences between the pre-draft Notification and the Notification pertaining to Coastal Regulation Zone, it appears that either the Minister for Environment and Forests is trying to fool the people or the bureaucrats in that department are hoodwinking the Minister and the public while acting as puppets of the various lobbies and vested interests.

There has been a colossal waste of public funds by holding 10 consultations across the country ostensibly, to understand the views and opinions of the fishing and other communities living along the coast as none of the recommendations made at these consultations are reflected in the notification. Hence what was the purpose of these consultations except for being eyewash to raise the people’s hopes and then dash them to smithereens?

Even though at each and every consultation, fishing communities along with other traditional occupants of the coastline of the country had consistently and very strongly demanded that the notification enshrines their right to live along the coastline that they have been occupying for centuries and their right to livelihood from what the coastal environment provides, be enshrined in the Notification. Sadly this demand has been royally ignored by the Minister and his mandarins as the same is not reflected in the Notification.

The Notification neither protects the fishing communities nor the coastal environment. Activities that do not need to be within 500 m from the sea like atomic plants, greenfield airports, “non-polluting” industries, SEZs, large housing projects, etc., are all permitted without any clear rationale. .There is also no attempt to take account of the cumulative impacts of thermal power plants and ports along the coast.

Given this reality, in what way does the CRZ Notification really provide for the protection of environment and safeguard the rights of fishermen and their livelihood?.

There is no case for the special status sought to be given to Kerala, Goa and Mumbai. Given that the situation along India’s vast coastline the coast and its biodiversity differs so vastly, this only opens up the possibility of each State asking for, and being given, a special status. This will only serve to dilute the CRZ Notification and open up the coast to builders, the tourist lobby, land sharks and industry, while offering no protection to the environment and the traditional inhabitants of the coast.

The so-called special concession given to Goa is nothing but humbug and mere eyewash. All that it recommends for Goa is mapping of the coastal villages and the khazan lands which do not entail any protection of the environment or the fishermen. Everybody is aware that the coastal villages in Goa have fishermen living there and hence mere mapping of these villages has no meaning unless it is supported by some clearly stated provisions to protect their houses and means of livelihood. In fact, the special concessions provided for the fishing community in Goa appears to be an attempt to ghetotise them in order to take control of the entire village under the Coastal Zone Management Plan and thereafter throw it open for land sharks and developers.

Similarly, for the khazan lands mere mapping will bring no tangible benefits particularly when there is no specific provision prohibiting conversion of khazan lands for other purposes. In such a situation, the khazan lands, which are an unique eco-system of the country found only in Goa, will be converted to other purposes like pisciculture, etc. under the guise of its management.

Even the special concession granted to Kerala whereby the setback area in backwater islands is reduced to 50 mts appears to be for the benefit of hoteliers and developers who have acquired large chunks of the land in these islands, rather that in the interest of the local inhabitants.

This is precisely the reason why the charge that the Department’s bureaucrats are acting as puppets of the vested interest is applicable.

The National Fishworkers Forum will meet shortly to plan its course and do everything in its power to ensure that the draft notification in its current form is withdrawn..


Matanhy Saldanha

(NFF, Chairperson)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Has India traded away livelihoods, health and environmental safeguards in secret negotiations with Japan?

15 September 2010, New Delhi - A Ministry of Commerce and Industry delegation in Tokyo last week has agreed “in-principle” to a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Japan. The CEPA will formally be signed by the Prime Minister next month during his visit to Tokyo. Public interest groups have feared the secret signing of this bilateral agreement that has ramifications across several sectors in India. Negotiations on this CEPA started in 2007.

We have repeatedly asked the Indian Government to hold consultations on India’s negotiating position and the negotiating text but the government has refused to do so,” said Kavaljit Singh of Madhyam. India is said to be negotiating several such agreements also known as Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) including one with the European Union (EU).

CEPAs, like the one proposed between India and Japan are preferred trade arrangements between two countries. These types of FTAs require the Indian government to make commitments far in excess of those it has already signed up to at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Their impact across financial, banking, agricultural, industrial sectors apart from health and environmental concerns have underscored the long standing demands of public interest groups and State Governments for access to these texts being negotiated by India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

“Our RTI Act obligates the Indian Government to publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing decisions which affect the public,“ said Venkatesh Nayak of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. “Instead of public consultations and debates on this agreement, we have got more information from the websites of the Japanese government than our own.

The secrecy around the negotiations has prevented any substantive analysis of the impact of the provisions of this FTA not only on various sectors but also on the livelihoods, health and environmental safety and security of Indians. However, the experience of other Asian countries in such agreements with Japan shows that farmers, fisher folk and mass movements opposing "free trade" have good reason to worry.

A major stumbling block for the negotiations was reportedly Japan’s demands for intellectual property protection beyond the TRIPS Agreement. With their demands for plant variety – protection, this was of concern not only for access to medicines but also for livelihoods of farmers and the ownership of seeds. Although reports indicate the Indian government has not given in to these demands, groups fear this may still not address their concerns. “We expect the Indian government to deal with high prices of patented medicines not only through compulsory licences but also price control and regulation. However, we fear that the government may have tied its hands in taking such measures by signing on to an investment chapter like those contained in other Japanese trade agreements,” said Vikas Ahuja of the Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+).

The investment chapter in this CEPA reportedly contains provisions allowing Japanese investors to challenge Indian government actions that may negatively impact their investments in India. While health groups fear a Japanese company may challenge a compulsory licence or drug price control as measures affecting their investments, democratic rights groups point to the cases of Vedanta and Posco where the impact on local environment and traditional livelihoods are being highlighted in opposing these investments by foreign companies. Investment provisions should not dilute the ability of the government to take action in such cases.

With this agreement, Japanese investors in India could be accorded the same rights as Indian investors in economic sectors where they are allowed. In the area of “fisheries”, for instance, current policy requires foreign fishing fleets to collaborate with Indian companies. The India-Japan CEPA could lift these restrictions on foreign fleets fishing in Indian waters for Japanese operators. “Japanese fleets have much better facilities than our fishworkers. If they are allowed to come into the Indian waters, they will catch our fish and even be able to sell it back into our own market duty free. This will affect the livelihoods of fishers, but also fish vendors and fish traders in India,” said T. Peter of the National Fishworkers Forum. Japan is also not known for “sustainable” fishing or whaling practices, thus placing the fragile marine eco-system at risk as well.

Investment provisions could also impact the agriculture sector with many big Japanese companies, like Sakata which sells seeds and Kubota, which sells agricultural machinery operating in India. “Such provisions could give priority access over land and water to corporations, thereby creating a crisis for local farming and pastoral communities. Farmers’ freedoms and food sovereignty would be further threatened if the investment rules also obligate the Indian government to protect plant varieties and patents on seeds as the ‘assets’ of Japanese firms,” said Shalini Bhutani of GRAIN.

Japan’s interest in the export of hazardous waste across the Asian continent, as evidenced by its FTAs with other Asian countries is also a cause for grave concern. These agreements not only classify 'waste' like any 'commodity' but also encourage its import through a reducing tariff. “If applied as is, it will open a floodgate of waste dumping into India, besides encouraging the shifting of global waste recycling operations here, which leave all the toxics behind. Alongside it also creates a disincentive for legislating stricter national environmental waste import laws in the future. High consumption countries like Japan, are keen to get rid of their waste overseas, since they have almost no land for waste disposal. We seem to be senselessly willing to bear the toxic legacy of their consumption,” said Ravi Agarwal of Toxics Link.

Across the Asia-Pacific region, trade agreements with Japan have seen widespread protests in Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. In fact the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement has been challenged in the Supreme Court of Philippines. The widespread protests in these countries to the dangers of toxic waste coming from Japan through these Agreements has led to formal notes from the Japanese government to the Thai and Philippines governments guaranteeing that such waste would not be exported through the trade agreement.

The Indian Government, it appears has asked for no such guarantees.

For more information and interviews, contact:

Pallavi, Center for Education and Communication : +91-98103 93391

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Delhi's poor, students protests commonwealth games

Protestors all over delhi came out to demand that Sheila Dixit, Kalmadiji and city planners stop oppressing common peoples needs in their quest for this World Class City and the Commonwealth Games. Through the morning and afternoon of 14th September, a city wide outcry took place in 6 different places. While the protest took different forms including Chakka Jamms, and flier distribution, the thousands of angry people had ONE single banner that read ‘Commonwealth kiski shaan, Janta Hai Sab Pareshaan’ and a unified list of peoples' demands. Sites of protest included the Bhalaswa Highway, Raj Niwas Marg, Delhi University, Okhla Modh, Noida Modh and ITO.

At one of the sites of protest, Bhalaswa Highway the police severely beat up and maltreated several of 300 protesters.Protesters at other sites also gathered in large numbers, held meetings, found traffic jammed by the CWG lanes, distributed fliers (attached) and confronted large mobs of the police.

In East Delhi about 100 protestors from communities including Shashi Garden, Kalyanpuri, Khichdipur, Sunlight Colony, Mandavali, Gonda, and local people from around the Noida Modh area came together to do a Chakka Jamm. Ironically, since the Commonwealth Games lanes on the roads were being tested, and a large traffic jam was already going on, protesters did not need to create the Jam, instead they distributed a parcha of demands at 4 different sites including 2 places at Noida Modh and 2 around Chand Cinema. While distributing parchas, community members also held meetings with the local public.

At Raj Niwas Marg, thousands from the Beghar Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti gathered in front of the Lt. Governor’s building. They were immediately faced by large mobs of threatening police. In the glorious irony of the CWG, protestors once again did not have to jam the traffic, as it was already stopped by Commonwealth games lanes. Instead, protesters distributed at least 2000 fliers to a sea of traffic.

In the coordinated actions that took place at Okhla Modh women came from Kalkaji in a large group and also faced Commonwealth Lane traffic jams, they did not need to themselves block traffic once again and instead had the opportunity to distribute their list of demands.

Additionally, All India Students Association (AISA) and University Campus for Democracy (UCD)as well as other students of Delhi University gheraod the Vivekananda statue near the Arts Faculty building, they burnt an effigy of Kalmadiji, chanted slogans, and distributed fliers. Students were especially angry about being thrown out of their hostels to make place for guests of the Commonwealth Games!

Parchas were also handed out at different spots near ITO. People from 3 different sangathan’s, and about 300 police members were present at the site. The police demanded that protesters don’t stretch the demonstration for too long. But protesters said they would resist and were willing to be arrested to stand up for justice, the protest ended with discussions and meetings with the public present.

At Bhalaswa, over 300 people from the community successfully blocked the Bhalaswa bypass by sitting on the road. They stopped traffic for 40 minutes. Community members were lathi charged by the police. The police grabbed women by the hair, grabbed at women’s chests and even kicked them. Two male protesters were taken away and brutally beaten by multiple policemen in the secrecy of a police van, before being taken to the thaana. One particular woman community member was so badly beaten up that she was in tears, couldn’t speak, fainted, and had to be rushed to hospital. Some protesters attempted to climb into an auto to go to the Police Station and get their saathis released, but the driver of their auto was pulled out and roughed up so all the community members had to desert the auto and walk to the police thaana. About 200 protesters reached the Bhalaswa thaana and got their saathis released after much harrassment. Protesters filed charges against the police for severe man handling. Protesters demand that that the guilty Bhalaswa SHO, Mr. R.P.Singh, be booked for assault. His actions were caught on tape and he along with other police members is responsible for the mistreatment and condemnable behavior at Bhalaswa. Protesters also condemn the misbehavior behavior by Police in Delhi today!

According to to protesters, people in Delhi have been evicted from several locations including Yamuna Pushta, Jehangirpuri, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kirti Nagar, Gadia Lohar Basti, Pusa Road, Jangpura Barapullah Nala, and Lodhi Colony. Bastis have been demolished at Vikaspuri, 15 jhuggies of Gadia Lohar Basti demolished, ongoing evictions, yet to happen include 400 jhuggies and 44 jhuggi jhopadi clusters amongst others. Additionally, people yet 'to be displaced' is 30,000-40,000 families.

Protesters demand: 1. Stop the displacement of bastis. 2. Stop the displacement of informal sector workers from the streets. 3 Reverse the recent cancellation of tens of thousands of ration cards. 4. Pay workers minimum wage and their due rights at games construction sites. 5. Provide housing to those displaced and the homeless. 6. Take action against the trafficking of women for the games. 7. Return all the funds diverted for the games including from the farmer relief and the SC/ST funds 8. End privatization and taxation as a way for the city to fund the games. 9. Have NO MORE mega-events in the city!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Whose 'common'? Whose 'wealth'? Why 'games'?

This is indeed very good news. I suggest this alliance be sustained even beyond these games. Unless the exploited and oppressed organized themselves there is not going to be any challenge to the emergency imposed on them by former colonial alliance for the purpose of neo-colonial agenda. Games are a favored strategy of the global-local elite nexus. In 1983 Commonwealth Heads of States (CHOGM) met in Delhi and came for retreat in Goa. It was hardly a retreat. It was an invasion of people of Goa and long term alterations in tourism policies favoring luxury tourism that benefited largely Tatas who had build their Taj hotel in 1975. New roads were built connecting cities to the coast (Panjim to Siquerim), land of the local people were sough to be acquired forcefully to construct Volley ball court for then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her common wealth colleagues to play on. Land was acquired to build heliport so that Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi could land safely. In short retreat was used to create infrastructure for the long term penetration of imperialist mode of development that has exploitation and dispossession of people as its core essence.

Unfortunately it was bad timing for the heads to land up in Goa as State had vibrant student movement then. Progressive Students Union (PSU) launched its street play campaign all over Goa against this bonanza. Nearly 52 street plays was staged withing 72 hours. Awareness picked up new levels. Students then aligned with affected people in Sinquerim and gave a tough fight. All the projects were forced to be cancel and land return back to the families from whom they were taken. Only expansion of connecting road was possible.

Tourism in Goa witnessed new wave protests that many in India are unaware of. I am prompted to write this mainly because there is so much similarity between Goa in 1983 and Delhi in 2010. Both has roots in Commonwealth and snatching away of commons and making people poorer and less dignified. Tourism in Goa is still struggling to invade Goa. And people of Goa have given total resistance till date. Number of projects like these continues to get mocked in Goa. Golf courses, new international airport, casinos, continue to be in the rage of controversy. The protests are no longer limited only to the students alone. It is lot more widespread and fresh students on campus yet to know about what happened in 1983. Our schools and colleges do not think it is wise to include protest history. Our historians do not believe that it is important to consider protests and day to day history making process worth attention. But history is constantly being made irrespective whether intellectuals, historians recognize it or not. They can ignore it at the peril of their profession. It is being made on the streets. It is being made is small village joints. However very little is known to the outside world about the magnitude and intensity of churning in Goa. I write this from the middle of all this in Goa.

Games like these that also includes Olympics are largely used for the purpose of creating consensus for what otherwise would have been scorned at. Nation's dignity is attached here as a clever ploy to morally damage any imaginations of resistance and articulations. This technique has been the invented and fine-tuned in Nazi Germany when Hitler ruled its affairs. There was need for justification for the large scale alterations to facilitate rapid creation of infrastructure. While games took place so often all over the world, it was during Nazi period that games merged with interest of capital and not just physical fitness. Physical fitness in fact took a back seat after win-at-all-cost mindset got on to the boardroom meeting planning for the games and steroids found its way on the global sports scenarios.

It is remarkably simple to argue today that these games wherever they are held has got less to do with physical fitness, showcasing of national pride, and creating harmony between nations. These are merely camouflage for long-term bulldozing of agenda of the world order dominated and dictated by capital. This one of the finest examples wherein the emotion of nation facilitates process of poverty generation with total backing of all the political institutions together with the icing by none other than author of 'Jai Ho'.

As has been argued well in the below notes by the organisers it is pertinent to stress the logic that simmers silently in the commonwealth agenda. It is important to de-construct the latent notions, and agendas. First, the notions. The two words 'common' and 'wealth' are sounding naive and politically neutral till one begins to tinker around as to who is the head of it. It is now well established that England usurped necessary 'wealth' from India's undivided Bengal and Latin America's Brazil. From Bengal via its corporate of the times - East India Company before went about other parts of the world and fighting world wars in the bargain. From Brazil via its senior non-industrial colonial power - Portugal whose political leaders remained indebted to British naval prowess to save their lives on ocean journey from Portugal to Brazil in 1790s when Napoleon Bonaparte decidedly invaded Iberian nation that feasted on grape wine.

The forest products and minerals from these two places laid the basic foundation for the Industrial revolution to kick-start in England and then spread to other parts of Europe. This was the 'wealth'. What is ‘common’? The notion of 'common' is the common destination of these sources. The common destination is industrial enterprise that we today come to know as Industrial Revolution - Minerals got value added and revolved around profits just as Moon revolved around Earth and Earth revolved around Sun. The word Revolution was then used in astronomy with Copernicus and Galileo as its Avant-Garde. The 'common' thus is Industrialization - Common wealth to facilitate British colonial ventures. To reach further in this journey England could hardly remain satisfied with impoverishment of peasants of Bengal and Indigenous people of Brazil. Private company - East India Company had to be reconsidered after the tribal rebellion in 1855 and the revolt of 1857. East India Company had to be turned into full-fledged colonial enterprise backed by State power. The loot of Bengal had to be upgraded into State backing from none other than royal family of England and blessed with authority of loot with rules. Three days ago Arundhati Roy has passing referred to this her latest writings. Now loot has to be sanctioned by common law to repress rebellions that were to become nuisance for the British. Indian Penal Code came up was the first colonial legal intervention in India. It came about in 1860. Indian Evidence Act came after dozen years of preparation in 1872. And since these were not enough to keep people subdued Code of Criminal Procedure was passed the very next year in 1873. So there is common legal framework for colonial administration. It was the case in nineteenth century and it is the case in twenty-first century. So there is obviously common legal framework in colonial India and post-colonial India.

But then, why games? The Agenda. The games, the way they are marketed in the present format are the most palatable way of enacting colonial decrees in Independent countries. It involves not just country's elites who are oblivious direct beneficiaries but also celebrates colonial hangover in a dramatic manner amongst mass of people as the Queen's baton makes round in the state capitals all over India. Athletes and celebrities are roped in, and respect and tools of honor are showered Commonwealth Games to serve the glorious purpose of renewing and refreshing the colonial mindset. This is an important thing to do to ensure that even after decolonization and change in flags in various countries to keep people in perpetual delirium.

This is one of the rare moment of colonial mindset wherein the business-politician-media-artists joins in one chorus, one agenda - massive clearing of path for capital to enter, capital to rule, capital to dominate. This is orchestrated in periodic manner in different countries. This time it is India.

It is with this realization I stand in opposition to Commonwealth Games. It is with this realization that I support the promising alliance of poor from various parts of Delhi. This is a beginning of a marathon even before the games and has to last long after, and it needs to be run as such. I have already joined it!

Sebastian Rodrigues

On Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at 10:27 AM, Kaveri Rajaraman wrote:

What: Several community based groups are coming together to organize a coordinated set of roadblocks and chakka jams in ten different locations around the city, centered around a set of demands relating to displacement, labor and price rise, with the commonwealth games as a focal point. All groups will have a common banner and parcha, but the form of protest will vary based on the affected community's uproar.

When: Tuesday 14th September, 9 am, to target morning traffic.

Where: 10 locations : ITO, Noida Mod, Nigambud Ghat, Raj Nivas Marg, Jehangirpuri, Bhalaswa Highway, Bawana, Khanpur (south Delhi), Okhla, Mall Road.

Demands: The idea is for the mobilization to push the city to granting the demands around stopping the displacement of bastis, stopping the displacement of informal sector workers from the streets, reversing the recent cancellation of tens of thousands of ration cards, paying workers minimum wage and their due rights at games construction sites, providing housing to those displaced and the homeless, taking action against the trafficking of women for the games, returning all funds diverted for the games including from farmer relief and the SC/ST funds, ending privatization and taxation as a way for the city to fund the games and not organizing any more such mega-events in the city.

People from many basti communities around the city have been devastated by the pattern of displacement and evictions planned by the Delhi authorities over the years. The Commonwealth games is just the latest milestone for the city as it races towards revamping itself as a world class city - and following their pattern of displacing all working class people to the periphery of the city. This adds to the escalating cost of living for workers between the lack of affordable housing, transportation costs to their sites of labor spike, labor gets contracted out and wages slashed, and food, water and sanitation provisions to those who are not rendered completely homeless.

The commonwealth games are a sporting event organized between those 72 countries who were former subjects of the British Empire. These former subjects of the Empire consider this to be a source of pride, and this year it is India playing host to the games. The question that arises is - exactly whose pride is this we speak of? Whose common and whose wealth? Sixty three years after freedom from the British Empire, in our country where the ordinary Indian people still sweat to make enough to feed themselves as prices of daily goods skyrocket, the government is throwing money at the Commonwealth Games. In order to make a beautiful "world class city", the Delhi government is frenziedly constructing malls, metros, parks, roads and stadiums, and in the process it has displaced over 200,000 families. The possibility of eviction also hangs over hundreds of bastis, especially 44 that have been slated for demolition in the near future. This demolition drive has been accompanied by a sweeping move to kick ragpickers, hawkers, cycle rickshaw peddlers and beggars off the streets. The slogan of 'elimination of poverty' has now become one of 'elimination of the poor'.

Of the people evicted from several locations including Yamuna Pushta, Jehangirpuri, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kirti Nagar, Gadia Lohar Basti, Pusa Road, Jangpura Barapullah Nala, and Lodhi Colony, only a small slice have been rehabilitated, all 40-45 kilometers away from their former sites of residence, in places like Bhalaswa, Bawana, Narela, Sabda, etc. When dumped at these sites, they have found not even the most basic facilities of even dry ground to stand on, let alone housing, or any source of water. On top of these, they have been so far from the rest of the city, without any public transportation, that their ability to travel back to their worksites and earn a living has been severely compromised. In order to pay for the games, the government has removed fuel price subsidies, which has also raised the costs of transportation, and in consequence, food, compounding the problems of these communities. Also, basti residents are facing a situation of sever deprivation with the cancelation of thousands of BPL ration cards. Without APL or BPL cards, they have no access to vital rations. Meanwhile, the poor have not been the only victims of displacement; hostel residents of Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia have been evicted to make way for the international attendees of the Commonwealth Games.

Meanwhile, there is a consistent pattern of labor law violation at the various construction sites for the Commonwealth Games. Of the 100,000 odd workers in these sites only a fraction have been registered, and most are nowhere near getting minimum wage or other basic labor rights. These expenditure on these games, organized in the name of national pride, is effectively going only to the large companies, contractors, traders, politicians and capitalists in this business, both nationally and internationally. The 1400 crore budget that the government began with for the CommonWealth games has skyrocketed into a budget that now surprasses 100,000 crore! Hundreds of crores of money slated for SC/ST welfare schemes and farmer relief have been diverted to the games. Ultimately, it is the people who are paying from their pockets for these games.

Organized by: All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh, All India Kachra Shramik Mahasangh, Beghar Mazdoor Sangharsh Samiti, Bhalaswa Lok Shakti Manch, Delhi Forum, Delhi Solidarity Group, Hazards Center, INSAF, Initiative for Social Upliftment, Mahila Chingari Samuh, Mahila Kalpana Shakti, Mahila Pragati Manch, NACDOR, NGO Sabha, Pehel, PUDR, SADED, Safai Mazdoori ke liye Rashtriya Abhiyan, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Social Development Foundation, Women's Development Cell Miranda House, Vidyarthi Yuvjan Sabha

Contact: Shashi Bhushan 9968413109 Pushpa 8800631852 Kaveri 9958789298

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Vauradeancho Ixtt saun Vauradeancho Dusman

Mogall Pri Feroz,

Tuvem sompadailolem Vavradeancho Ixtt attach mojea hatan podlo. Poleach panacher Vanxi Capao vixim khobhor vachlim. Vachlea uprant mojhea monak khup dukh bhoglem. Karon tujem potrok vortota Vavreadeancho Ixtt ani tori punn vavreadeacheo kendneo korpi oslem borop tuka dislem ki poilea panacher xapun hanchem mhunn. Don dalal-la lagi uloun je toren sotachea zagear sogleo fotti xapun hadleat vachumn khoreanich monak dukh boglem. Zem tuvem kelam tem borobor noi. Taka potrokarita mhununk favonam punn Bhanvoldarancho, Bhadkarancho ani igorjeacho 'propaganda' mhunok favo.

Mhaka Vanxi je kitem ghodla tem bori khobor asa. Goenchea Archibishop Felipe Neri Ferrao hanem hi zomin viklea hache sarke purave asat. Purave astana nanv vibaddle munpak zaina. Igorjek lokacher oxe toren oteachear korunk kosloch odhikar nha. Tumcho reporter Denzil D'Souza Agostache 8 ver ji meeting Vanxi igorjechea fudeant zalli taka hazir aslo punn to bhielo distalo karon sot boroilear tem khup zanak mharok podtolem mhun. Sot boronk na tem boronk na, punn oxeo ziteo fotti xapun hapod goenchea potrokarank lojek podpachi gozall. He fottingponn xapun haddunk karon kitem?

Zor Capao ponnasa voir lok ravta zalear to zago vibadlolo koso zalo? Zor vibadlolo zago zalaer thuisor ho lok fatlim 300 vorsa kosa ravta? Zor to vibadlolo asa zalear thuim golf course, spa ani 7 star hotel koxem zatolem tor? Boropeak matui ginean na oxem he borop dakon dita. Kul korpi he zomnir kam korun aplem pot bhorpi goenchech lok. Tuvem jem kitem xapun hadlam tem hea soglea lokachi kebadam korta, angan sarki tidok hadta. Hem potrok fokot nava purtem Vavreadeancho Ixtt punn korneanim tem Vavradeancho Dusman and Bhatkaracho Ixtt, Bhanvoldaracho Ixtt, Igorjecho Ixtt. Mhojim khont tuvem kitem poilea panar xapun haddlam tacher nam, fokot tujea potrokachem atam nanv bodol. Ek novem porzollit nanv tuvem zodla - 'Vavreadeancho Dusman - The Workers' enemy!'

Santa Monica sonsvtelagim lagim aslolim zomin 'cannon law' hachea khal koxi vikun khalli? Tivu-i fokot 20 rupea square meterank kiteak vikli? Hea presant thuiche lokak vikunk zainasli zait? Igorjent hi zomin vikchea adim lokak kiteak sanglea nam? Kulkari he lokh Igorjeche dusman? Oxi ek munni asa "Bhailo chor, bhitorlo bhedi". Bichole mamlatdar offisant voron lokacheo forsant soheo geop he borobor nhoi tori mhunn goddlem. Soheo kitem mhunn? Ki tusor-le zomnicher aplo hokk na and thuisor set-ui bhi roina mhunn.

Hanv zanam tum mojem he borop xapun hadchona mhunn. Tori punn maka dista have tuze lagim vinonti korchi ki mojem he borop tuvem tujea fudlea ankant xapun adchem. Jim kitem fotingponam hea ankar xapun eileant tachi zap sogleak kolonk gorjeanchem. Vanxi - cho proxn fokot Vanxi-chea lokachoch nhoi punn to sogle Goenche porjecho. He borop khoreanich goenchea soglea lokan vachun sot jem lipoupachi korni kelea ti noxt korunk ekdom gorjechem.

Tujea potran zori tor kitei proitn sot lipoupache kele tem kennach sofol zaunche na. Sot eka porzolit surya porim; tachea fudeant fotti kednach tikonant. He mat got ugdas dovor. Eka disa tuka mhojea utrancho ugdas zerur itolo. Fotti xapun hadpache sodun di and sotache vater paul mar. Fotiche vater cholun sot lipaupacho proitn korop he ek bhurgeponn. Inglez basen sangchem mollear - you are a mature young man, don't turn journalism into propaganda. Your readers are not donkeys. Or change the name of your weekly from 'Workers' friend to Worker's enemy. Please asses and introspect what you are doing as an editor of V. Ixtt.

Tuzho mogal ixtt,

Seby Rodrigues

Friday, September 10, 2010

Duty to ask Cidade de Goa owners

Sometimes you must ask the owners of Cidade de Goa "When will you stop purging of Goa's mineral wealth? When will you let people in Colamb, Advalpal, Pissurlem breath air free from its mining dust? When will huge mining pits be restored to its natural glory? How much of Goa's forest it is going to destroy? How many more water bodies it is going to run dry? How many more criminal cases it is going to file against protesting villagers? How many more court cases it wants to open against Colamb villagers? How much wealth it has already got from mining plunder of Goa? What is the limit of its greed?" Remember you have a duty and a responsibility to ask these questions at least.

Theatre of the absurd

Hartman de Souza writes after visit to Niyamgiri. Please click here for the links.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mopa airport: Uncovering Underdevelopment in the Garb of Development

Independence!” “Independence!” “Independence!”. It seems to be very funny that these words are used freely by politicians whereas the very same words do not hold water to the people of Mopa and surrounding villagers where the international airport is on the verge of becoming a reality. To these people, it spells death. What is Freedom? Does it not include freedom of speech and freedom of having a right to livelihood? That is why the talk of independence seems to have become an empty slogan to the villagers of Mopa. When they themselves protest against Mopa airport why does the Government pays no heed to them? Why do the M.L.A’s act as inactive by standing spectators? Why do they deny their basic rights and livelihood? Why do none of the M.L.As render a listening ear to their cry? Such an attitude brings credence to the narrative that our M.L.A’s and their cronies have a share of huge booty from the project. This is why they perhaps cannot identify with the people’s aspiration. This Government is not of the aam aadmi but of the rich Khas aadmi!

Is the Government not robbing the natural resources of the people of Mopa? Like the capitalists, is the Government not guilty of trading on the natural habitats of the people? The conversion of the agricultural land into an airport will certainly bring huge dividends to the Government at the cost of displacing the simple people of Mopa and the surrounding areas by alienating them from their livelihood. How sustainable is this conversion of the natural source of livelihood into a Babu culture of the bureaucratic driven revenue leaking source of Jobs to the locals? How much revenue will stay for the people of Mopa who at present are the masters of their own destiny while they practice agriculture in their lands? Will it not amount to surrender of this autonomy and embracement of a slavery that comes in the garb of an Airport? What jobs will the airport offer the poor unskilled and illiterate people of Mopa? Hence, the discourse that the airport will develop the people is a false propaganda. It offers nothing less than death and destruction of the people of Mopa.

This propaganda of development has invented the underdevelopment of the village of Mopa. The people of the place will simply carry the weight of so called development that will only leave them behind as the blind march of so-called progress will crush them by displacing them from their source of livelihood. If the Government is serious and is genuinely interested in the wellbeing of the people, Why does it imposes a development where they cannot become equal partners? Will not the lack of the skills and expertise of the aviation industry become a divide that cannot be bridged by the people in any discernible near future? By the time they will be rendered fit enough to overcome the divide, will they be not left behind by those who already have the lion’s share of the cake?

The underdevelopment engineered by the Government in the grab of development exposes the hypocrisy of the so called am admi Government. The development that leaves behind the local am admi is indeed clearly anti-people and is rightly resisted by the people. If Government really wants to develop the village of Mopa and its surrounding, why does it not promote horticulture, agriculture and handicrafts etc., which would benefit locals? If the Government is true to its claims why cant it develop the people by helping the poor tenants to become owners of their lands? It is glaringly clear that the airport does not come to develop the people but to prey on their land resources. The lands of the poor framers have become the raw material that will be churned out into an airport that will only increase the profit margins of those hungry predators.

It is even amazing why the opposition that roars like a lion on every other issue in the assembly chooses to remains a silent lamb when it comes to Mopa airport? The silence of the opposition is indeed disturbing. Equally disturbing is the double speak of pro-Dabolim MLA who had almost won his seat by politicizing the Mopa airport. All these leaders seem to have joined the league and the ranks of the hungry predators. It is unfortunate that our chief minister and his forty thieves are busy plotting the underdevelopment in the guise of development. Why cant the politician both ruling and the opposition take a leaf from book of Mamta Benerjee who drove underdevelopment that came to visit Sigur under the guise of the industrial plant of Tata Nano? Goans refuse to be fooled by the propaganda of development. The architects of underdevelopment who hide their vicious plot under the cover of development are finally exposed. We refuse to accept their pseudo-development and re-claim our right to say NO!

Walter D’Souza

Rachol Seminary

When the Pernem villagers boycotted ZP elections

Mopa Vimantal Pidit Xetkari Samiti in March 2010 gave a call to boycott Zilla Parishad elections in Goa. It was a historic call like none before. Very few occasions the citizens has resorted to such a drastic measures as this one. The content of the letter written to the electoral officer is reproduced here:



The Chief Electoral Officer of Goa,
Panjim, Goa

We, the villagers of Varkahnd, Cansarvanem, Chandel, Amerem, Halli and Poraskadem hereby declare that we shall boycott the forthcoming Zilla Parishad elections, and all future elections, as the existing electoral process spells doom for all of us. This process does not provide any hope for the basic survival of the beleaguered residents of our villages, who are threatened with total displacement by the political parties who are monopolizing the electoral process currently in force.

The Mopa Vimantall Piditt Xetkari Samiti strongly condemns the present election process and the resultant political setup, where there is no space for the politics of the poor and the deprived majority. Both the National parties are only interested in graft and corruption and the voice of the poor is completely snuffed out by them. In our case, a huge land scam engulfing the entire taluka of Pernem, in the name of Mopa International Airport , is being pursued by both congress and BJP, who are together ensuring that the masses are not allowed to have any chance for representation in this election process. using tonnes of ill-gotten money in brazen display of of corruption, the two parties bribe the helpless electorate so that the elections are reduced to a farce of the most serious nature. The failure of the Election Commission of India to stop the all-pervading corruption in the election process is a fundamental cause of the acute distress being faced by the electorate today and for the brazen violation of the Constitution of India by a few rich and powerful persons. The Election Commission of India has failed in its primary duty to ensure that free and fair elections are held, thereby endangering the very foundation of our great democracy.

We therefore demand that all ongoing and future elections in the State of Goa be countermanded since the current process is completely undemocratic and leaves no space for the voice of the common people. Unless you exercise your Constitutional duties and stop the corrupt elections practices used by the present Political Parties, the Constitution of India remains only a false promise as the Nation rushes towards complete destruction.

Thanking you,


Sandip Kambli
Tel: 9923486841

C.C. : (1) Chief Election Commissioner, Election Commission of India, Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road, New Delhi - 110001.

(2) The Chief Minister of Goa

(3) The Leader of the Opposition, Goa

(4) M.L.A. of Dhagal Constituency of Goa

Attack on Vanxim defender

18 May 2010

The Superintendent of Police,
(North Goa)
Porvorim, Goa

Sub: Threat to my life

Dear sir,

I have to bring to your kind attention the incidence which happened at the meeting venue place Vanxim (Ilhas) inside the Church compound on the 16th day of May 2010 at 5.30 pm.

The dignitaries present for the meeting were:-
Our MLA (Pandurang Madkaikar), The Appellant (Mr. Mahendra Gaunekar), Agent of Mr. Mahendre Gaunekar - Mr. Philip D'Mello, Sarpanch Mr. Tulsidas Kundaikar, panch Mr. Manuvel Furtado, Panch Rama Bomkar and all our villagers.

The meeting was conducted in an unorganised manner without any appropriate agenda.

The meeting was addressed by our MLA Mr. Pandurang Madkaikar, and he asked the gathering regarding the upcoming project which was not disclosed to our villagers by our incapable Panch.

Through the print media and the internet we learnt a lot of things which have taken place without the knowledge of the people of this soil.

Very unrosy picture was presented in the media about our village in order to gain grounds under the pretext of development.

Awareness was created, among the villagers about the illegal sale of land of the island by vested interests.

This was the time we all came forward and collected a lot of evidence which was presented to them at th meeting, like forged documents, thumb impression of uneducated people by ransom and cheating.

On the pretext of only buying the agricultural land and redeveloping their houses are made homeless.

As I was presenting these documents as evidence the Panch who felt he would have been exposed jambed along with his file over my documents; without having any regard to the chair.

I tried to remove my hand which was below his documents but he aggressively rushed towards me and smashed his file on my face in front of the dignitaries and the entire public present there without having any respect for woman.

Looking at his father's behavior (Panch) Manuvel Furtado his son (Jervis Furtado) acted in the same behavior. He came charging on me and warned me with dire consequences with the following words "Tuka Hagach Jivem Marta and Hangasoruch purtam" (will kill you and bury here). In the action the following happened even further: jervis Furtado came threatening towards me by showing his fist at me and raisin his hand.

And to my good luck the villagers came to my rescue.

Lots of racist comments were made regarding my past generation right from my grand father to my father late Ligorio Silveira who was the Panch for 15 long years which was very embarrassing and hurting (Racism seems it is still existing in Goa).

All these remarks were passed by Panch Manuvel Furtado which has to be dealt with.

I personally lodge a complain against the racism, against the Panch Manuvel Furtado and also to the threat given to my life by Jervis Furtado and Philip D'Mello (agent of Mahendra Gaunekar) as he follows me wherever I go.

I am looking forward to know the action against such such a disastrous behavior towards women and her respect to live in today's society.

Thanking you in anticipation,

Yours faithfully,


(Maggie Silveira)

P.S. This is a serous case involving criminal intimidation and threat to kill yet Goa Police has not even registered FIR even after completion of three month for the offence. This is the safety provided to women by the State. Police are obviously dancing to the tunes of land mafia such as Gaunekars and powerful politicians such as Madkaikars. The point is will Goa police allow themselves to be dragged into inaction even after citizens complain? Will Goa Police also then collude with these kinds of mafia and get the entire police force into mafia category? How can a threat to kill a citizen go unheeded by Goa Police?

Vanxim island sale out: The eight Sale Deeds

The archdiocese of Goa 'Church', Former Goa opposition leader who successfully campaigned against merger of Goa into Maharastra in 1967 opinion poll Dr.Jack de Sequira's son-in-law Ajit K. Sukhija are amongst those who sold Vanxim Island to Mahendra Gaunekar.

This is extracted from pages 10-13 of the Joint development agreement dated 14/8/2009 between Ozone Leisure and Resorts Pvt Ltd (Rajeev Chawdary) as second party, Tuscan Consultants and developers Pvt Ltd (Rajeev Chawdary) as confirming party, Ozone Propex Pvt Ltd (Mr. S. Vasudevan), and the First party consisting of Mahendra Gaunekar and Sonali Mahendra Gaunekar:

AND WHEREAS the 81.10 Acres of the Schedule Property was purchased by the First Party in terms of eight Sale Deeds all registered in the office of of the Sub-Registrar, Ilhas, North Goa whose details are as follows:

(i) Sale Deed dated 11/02/2006 registered as Doc.No.518 executed between the Patriarchate of the East Indies ('Church') and Mahendra Gaunekar, the First Party herein in respect of an extend of 1,85,125 square meters (45.76 acres) of land, which is more fully described in Item No.1 of the Schedule hereunder;

(ii) Sale Deed dated 27/04/2006 registered as Doc. No. 1232 executed between Mrs. Maria Cecelia Laurina Alice De Braganza Fernandes E D'Mello represented by her constituted attorney Mr. Ronnie Joseph D'Mello and Mahendra Gaunekar, the First Party herein in respect of the 50% share of an extend of 5050 square meters being 2525 sq. meters of land in Sy. No. 10/7, which is more fully described in Item No.2 of the Schedule hereunder;

(iii) Sale Deed dated 23/11/2007 registered as Doc. No. 3203 executed by Mr. Ronnie joseph D'mello and another in favour of Mahendra Gaunekar, the First Party herein in respect of an extent of 5050 square meters being 2525 sq. meters of land in Sy. No. 10/7, which is more fully described in Item No.2 of the Schedule hereunder;

(iv) Sale Deed dated 24/01/2007 registered as Doc. No. 316 executed by Sri Hector Caridade Fernandes and others in favour of Mahendra Gaunekar, the First Party herein in respect of 12/16th share in a total extent of 50,300 square meters of land in Sy. Nos. 10/1 and 13/1, which is more fully described in Item No.2 of the Schedule hereunder;

(v) Sale Deed dated 08/05/2007 registered as Doc. No. 1378 executed by Mrs. Lily Ethelvina Fernandes E Abreue and others in favour of Mahendra Gaunekar, the First Party herein, in respect of an extend of 2/16th share in 50,300 square meters of land in Sy. Nos. 10/1 and 13/1, which is more fully decribed in Item No.2 of the Schedule hereunder;

(vi) Sale Deed dated 20/11/2007 registered as Doc. No. 3147 executed by Mrs. Lilia Sergia Correia E Abreue and others in favour of Mahendra Gaunekar, the First Party herein, in respect of an extend of 1/8th share in 50,300 square meters of land in Sy Nos. 10/1 and 13/1, which is more fully described in Item No.2 of the Schedule hereunder;

(vii) Sale Deed dated 16/02/2008 registered as Doc. No. 611 executed by Mr. Ajit K. Sukhija in favour of Mahendra Gaunekar, the First Party herein in respect of an extend of 82,275 square meters of land in Sy. Nos. 9/2, which is more fully described in Item No.2 of the Schedule hereunder;

(viii) Sale Deed dated 18/12/2007 registered as Doc. No. 3420 executed by Mrs. Sacremento D'Mello and others in favour of Mahendra Gaunekar, the First Party herein, in respect of an extent of 5425 square meters of land in Sy. No. 5/11, which is more fully described in item No.2 of the Schedule hereunder;

AND WHEREAS the First Party, ever since the date of their purchase, has been in peaceful possession and enjoyment of the aforesaid extents of Item Nos. 1 & 2 of the Schedule Property and has applied for mutation in the name of the First Party;

Vanxim island saleout: how Rs.30 crores are getting paid to Mahendra and Sonali Gaunekar

This is extracted from pages 44-45 of the Joint development agreement dated 14/8/2009 between Ozone Leisure and Resorts Pvt Ltd (Rajeev Chawdary) as second party, Tuscan Consultants and developers Pvt Ltd (Rajeev Chawdary) as confirming party, Ozone Propex Pvt Ltd (Mr. S. Vasudevan), and the First party consisting of Mahendra Gaunekar and Sonali Mahendra Gaunekar:

6.2 The Security Deposit of Rs. 30,00,00,000/- (Rupees Thirty Crores Only) is paid to the first party, in the following manner:

(a) A sum of Rs. 25,00,00,000/- (Rupees Twenty Five Crores) has been paid to the First Party as follows:

(i) Rs. 2,00,00,000/- on 15.07.2005
(ii) Rs. 1,00,00,000/- on 23.12.2005
(iii) Rs. 5,00,00,000/- on 31.03.2006
(iv) Rs. 3,00,00,000/- on 23.08.2006
(v) Rs. 2,00,00,000/- on 03.10.2006
(vi) Rs. 2,00,00,000/- on 28.12.2006
(vii) Rs. 3,00,00,000/- on 19.01.2007
(viii) Rs. 4,00,00,000/- on 12.04.2007
(ix) Rs. 3,00,00,000/- on 16.04.2007

and the First Party does hereby acknowledge the receipt of the same.

The total financial implication of this agreement is limited to 30,00,00,000 (Rupees Thirty Crores only)

(b) The balance sum of Rs. 5,00,00,000/- (Rupees Five Crores only) shall be payable upon completion of the acquisition of the entire Schedule Property by the First Party and perfecting the title to the same.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tar balls sent Goa beaches on a toss

The big disaster of tar balls being washed on the shores of goan beaches is very disasterous, this sticky if come in contact with the skin doesnt go off easily.

Yesterday 31/8/10 the Colva Civic and Consumer Forum called the collector south Goa Mr G.P.Naik to inform him that hardly few people are sent to clean up and he replied that he will inform concerned dept but till late 31st evening no one extra came forward, except a few fire dept personnel who did some work but did not come today as they were instructed to go for tree cutting elsewhere.

Mrs Judith Almeida of the CCCF pleaded with people to come forward and help in the beach clean up, students from Infant Jesus came forward to help along with few volunteers from the Colva village and started the clean up today . As per Judith more people should have come forward to help as it is a big disaster and will affect the tourism industry in a big way , people have invested in hotels and other tourism related ventures but even they had not come to help.

Disaster management cell in Goa seems to be non existent as they did not take the situation under control and people of the village had to do the work, even the panchayat members were not to be seen except for one lady panch member.

Yesterday the labourers brought by some govt agencies dug holes in the sand on the beach and filled it up with the tar , they were later stopped by CCCF volunteers , there was no expert from the govt side as to advice and instruct these men who were sent as to what was the nature of work.

Madonna Almeida