Thursday, October 28, 2010

GOAMAP condemns police repression on women protesting mining in Bicholim

Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP) strongly condemns arrest of nine women in Naveli, Bicholim on October 27, 2010 while protesting against illegal mining trade by overloaded mining trucks.

Nine women were detain by Police in Naveli includes Mohini Mangaldas Naik, Namrata Ramchandra Naik, Sumitra Dasharat Naik, Reshma Raghunath Naik, Usha Ulhas Naik, Bharati Ravindra Naik, Chandrakala Chandrakant Naik, Manik Gopi Naik and Bhavna Banudas Naik.

These women were protesting overloading of the mining truck by creating the road blockade. It is an irony that Police opted to arrest women protesting the illegal mining transportation and let the truck owners and mining companies scot-free. This incident concludes that police department has been involved in protecting illegal mining transportation. GOAMAP demand stringent action against the police officers involved in ordering arrest of women protestors from Naveli village.

GOAMAP also takes note of forced silt into the paddy fields of the protesting Naveli farmers by Dempo mining corporation currently owned by British multinational Vedanta thereby preventing the farmers from cultivating their crops. GOAMAP demands that Government authorities to act tough against Vedanta. GOAMAP also demands Cancellation of all the mining leases of Dempo Mining Corporation in Bicholim taluka.

GOAMAP extends support to the Naveli villagers resisting mining industry.

Revoke Forest Clearances, Environment Clearances to Goa mines

Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP) demands the immediate revocation of all the Forest Clearances and Environmental clearances given to various mining leases in Goa.

The permissions granted by Ministry of Environment and Forest, New Delhi are hostile to the ecology as well as to the traditional economies of people and are based on false data presented in EIA reports. GOAMAP condemns the government decision to divert nearly 1282 hectares of forest land in Goa to mining companies during the last 5 years.

GOAMAP considers this a scandal and calls upon government of India to act decisively and cancel all the mining leases in Goa. The glaring example is the case of Borga Iron Ore mine at Rivona where in out of 71 hectares of the lease 66 hectares is forest that has been granted Forest Clearance by government authorities.

GOAMAP specially urges Minister of Environment and Forest, Government of India Jairam Ramesh to initiate measure and crack down on mining in Goa just the way he acted in case of Niyamgiri mines in Orissa.

Mining industry has been over running the state of Goa with high level political nexus and ruining the state of Goa everyday of its existence. Far more strict steps are necessary even though moratorium is in force on new mining leases; Operations of the existing mines are creating havoc. This is evident from the current unrest amongst people of Goa against mining industry.

In case Government of India failed to act and stop mines in Goa, situation will go out of hands with unpredictable consequences.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In Bicholim taluka Naveli revolts against mining industry, nine women arrested

Today is yet another historic day in the life of Goa; yet another village revolted against mining industry. This time it is Naveli in Bicholim taluka in North Goa. At around 9.00 am women of the village stopped mining transport carrying overloaded trucks. Villagers saw the records of the trucks and they found that each truck was carrying 19 tonnes of iron ore from nearby mine. Legally they are supposed to carry only 10 tonnes of ore. The cost of each tonne iron ore is Rs. 5000/- in international market.

Villagers are upset because the mining company - Dempos Mining corporation- owned by Vedanta since June 2009, has caused siltation of their paddy fields. Villagers are demanding that their paddy field be cleaned of all the mining silt. Vedanta instead of cleaning their paddy field are offering to pay compensation. Villagers are refusing compensation. This fight has widened as fight against capitalism that is administered by clique of Saraswat Brahmins with villagers refusing compensation.

Due to mining silt villagers were not able to cultivate their paddy fields for two years. Goa government has decided to take over the agricultural lands if they remain uncultivated for three years. This year if villagers do not cultivate then they will loose their rights over land.

Women were arrested at around 12.30 pm and taken to Bicholim police station. There are various companies that are running the truck that were blocked today. One of them is PVG who is also running the barges with the blessings of top Congress (I) politicians including Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat who is holding Goa ransom to mining industry throughout his past 11 years tenure as mines minister of Goa.

After women were arrested by Police men came on the road and blocked transport for the rest of the day. Women were still with police custody till last report came in at 10.00 pm.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Text of the Jilha bandi order against Vaishali Patil

Nuclear industry seeking to bulldoze the nuclear power plant in Jaitapur, Ratnagiri has allegedly got around Collector of Ratnagiri to violate contitutional Fundamental Right to Movement. Three people were served these notices. Former supreme court judge Justice P.B.Sawant, former High court judge Justice Kolse Patil and activist Vaishali Patil. The text of this order is in Marathi language. This is served on Vaishali Patil.

There is a program of protest on October 29, 2010 against nuclear power plant and this orders of the Collector is meant to counter protests.
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Forest Rights: Poigunim MLA Tawadkar pressurise GAKUVED

According to the just received reports Poinguinim MLA Ramesh Tawadkar has been trying to exert pressure on Devidas Gaonkar of Gawda Kunbi Velip and Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED) over the Forest Rights Act 2006 implimetation.

Goa Government has sabotaged the implimentation of FRA 2006 by ignoring to constitute mandatory Sub-divisional Committees as well as District level committees. MLA Tawadkar instead of forcing the State Government to constitute them is turning the heat on those working to impliment the same.

MLA Tawadkar few hours ago has threatened to march to the house of Devidas Gaonkar with his BJP party workers to end end the process of implimetation of Forest Rights Act within Khotigaon wildlife sancturay jurisdictions. Villagers - mostly tribals here face routine harrsment from forest department. forest departeemtn also involved in regula timber trade.

Please intervene at this stage and support Devidas Gaonkar. Please call him up at his mobile number 00 91 9373210686. Also please call up MLA Ramesh Tawadkar and ask him to stop pressurizing Devidas Gaonkar. MLA's contact mobile is 00 91 94224416000, 9325901049. His Landline contact: 0832 - 2639069.

GOAMAP protests attempts to expand mining in Sattari

Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP) takes strong objections to the public statement of Mr. Vishwajit Rane that his Assembly election victory in Goa’s Valpoi constituency is green signal for mining in Sattari.

GOAMAP urges Mr. Rane to to behave as an elected representative and not as an agent of mining industry.

Mr. Rane’s vetting of mining in Sattari is baffling particularly because Sattari is showcase of mining disasters in Pissurlem and Honda villages. The Ecological and Public Health concerns of these villages has grown to deeply critical levels. Its agriculture is totally ruined. People in agriculture has created loss of jobs and employment and paddy fields has been left uncultivable. People there has become ecological refugees.

Mining is huge usury of wealth of Goa. Last year alone mining industry earned Rs.25 lakh crores of rupees and Goa government was paid less than Rs. 30 crores! Mr. Rane is involved in supporting this robbery of Goa actively.

The heath of the villagers of Pissurlem and Honda and even of nearby Kerim villagers who work in Pissurlem mines has gone for a toss with large scale Tuberculosis and Bronchitis due to high level of dust pollutuion. Mr. Rane as Goa’s Health Minister should have known this very well before misguiding people.

GOAMAP wish to remind Mr. Vishwajit Rane that Sattari is one of the major Western Ghats Talukas of Goa which is ecologically sensitive and mining is an enemy of this bio-diversity rich region of Goa.

GOAMAP calls upon the People of Goa to be watchful of the intentions of Mr. Vishwajit Rane and defeat his intentions of expanding mining in Sattari and other parts of Goa.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Soon, most of Goa’s earth will be deposited in China

Click here to read interview with Carmen Miranda on Goa mining.

Goa tribes revolt against Curtorim Commundade

The villagers of sao Jose de Areal (Nesai) held a dharna in front of the communidade building in Curtorim with placards . This silent and peaceful dharna was held to protest the new auction for stone crushers and quarry in the village of St Jose de Areal.

The attorney of the communidade Dr Ernes Rodrigues along with office staff met 4 representatives of the villagers to discuss the issue of new auction. The people questioned the attorney as to why only the hills of st jose de areal were subjected to destruction and not any hills from Curtorim, they accused him of safe guarding curtorim village and destroying St Jose de Areal, The announcement of auction was done only in Curtorim and maina church and why not in the village of St Jose de Areal and why not notices were sent to areal Church. The angry villagers asked the attorney whether villagers of areal were not humans and only Curtorim villagers were humans.

The attorney under pressure of hundreds of villagers standing outside the building who shouted at the attorney to come out of office, later agreed to give in writing and a written note was given by him mentioning the auction was cancelled for both days as mentioned. There was police personnel present in the communidade building. Soon after the letter signed by Dr Ernest Rodrigues was given to the villagers , slogans were heard and the villagers later had a peaceful victory morcha was held in Curtorim village from communidade building to the market, and ended in front of St Alex Church.

The villagers took a resolution in front of the church to demand the same land for cultivation, and hence forth villagers decided to keep strict vigil on the communidades in case of further plans of destruction of their village.

Tribes protest Panchwadi Sesa Goa mining road project

The ST community of Panchwadi along with other residents held a meeting today morning at Mallar near vizar matt. The strong gathering was determined to stop the destruction of their pristine village by the govt and a mining company.

The meeting started with numerous speakers waiting to express their grievances and advice. Mr Cristev said that there exists a pathway, bullock cart track passing through survey nos 167,166,165,161,163,159,158,154,157 of village Panchwadi which these ST community are using to take their cattle for grazing, cashew plantation and for Kumeri cultivation.

The Goa government through the PWD is acquiring this road in the name of public purpose and handing out to Sesa Goa mining company for construction of mining road which will help the mining giant own a road private road from their mines to a jetty . This road is passing through the pristine village of Panchwadi and close to Moisal dam. The road which is illegal as there is no public purpose in it will destroy the ST community , pollute the Moisal dam which serves water to a large area beyond Panchwadi.

The dust and noise pollution which will arise due to this road will give innumerous trouble to entire panchwadi village and will even affect their health like the residents of Sanvorden and Quepem who suffer from tuberculosis and other diseases specially lung related.

The ST community and other villagers have decided to oppose any project that will destroy the environment of their village and will not hesitate to come on the road.

The people have earlier complained to all concern authorities but were all deaf with greasing palms.

Fishermens' 'No' to MPT onslaught on livelihoods



The Chief Minister,

Government of Goa,

Secretariat, Porvorim,

Bardez, Goa.


This is to bring to your notice the bleak future that awaits traditional fishermen from Baina beach if the clandestine designs of the Mormugao Port Trust sugar coated with a cloak of philanthropy in the garb of constructing a fishing jetty for trawler owners at Baina beach is allowed.

In the first place, we firmly that it is the prerogative of the Government of Goa to decide and plan the infrastructure required in the state as it is best equipped to decide in the best interest of the people. Ironically, MPT appears to have usurped this sacred duty of your Government and gone ahead to sign a MOU with the boat owners without even consulting the Government, leave alone consulting the traditional fishermen who are also stakeholders.

Sir, currently there are around 1,200 fishermen community members besides the labour living off Baina beach from where they not only carry out their fishing activity but also live there as there are 90 residential houses along the beach. The MPT proposes to construct the fishing jetty at the Southern end of the Baina beach, which means all the fishermen living along Baina beach will be displaced.

Besides, if the fishing jetty is permitted here, the fishermen will not be able to carry out their usual activity as the trawler owners will not allow them to fish in the area. As it is right now the trawler owners harass the traditional fishermen in various means like not allowing them to anchor near their jetty and even compelling wholesale fish buyers not to purchase the traditional fishermen’s catch.

Sir, this would mean that the poor and marginalized traditional fishing community will be deprived of not only their residential houses but also their means of livelihood, which is quite contrary to your avowed mission of working for the aam admi and therefore, you have to intervene and put the MPT in its place and assert your Government’s prerogative to govern the people of Goa.

We also would like to bring to your notice that the MPT is proposing the fishing jetty – which incidentally is a huge project involving construction of a breakwater – that will definitely have an impact on the hydrology of the area and the ecology. It is indeed ironical that MPT is gloating about this project without even carrying out an Environment Impact Assessment study, which is mandated for such projects.

As you are aware, the beaches in the Southern taluka of Canacona are facing severe problems of erosion suspected to be caused by the development of the Sea Bird project at Karwar. If MPT is permitted to construct the fishing jetty as per the plans prepared by them, the beaches in Goa will be severely impacted which in turn would affect the flourishing tourism industry that has come to be the mainstay of Goa’s economy as the tourists visit our state only for its beaches, and if there are no beaches left, there will be no tourists coming.

In addition, the Baina beach attracts a lot of people because of its natural beauty and particularly during the summer season when various cultural activities are conducted on the Beach. The Government too uses the Baina beach during the International Film Festival of India, which has come to stay in Goa permanently.

We would also like to bring to your notice plans to displace fishermen from the Bimbeli beach which is a private property. Fishermen are given access to this beach primarily because it is a private property.

It has come to our notice that the Navy is proposing to acquire this beach to station a new squadron which would result in the fishermen being displaced from this beach too. Although the Navy says that it will issue passes to the fishermen and permit them access, in reality this will not happen going by the Maharashtra experience.

Sir, in Maharashtra, initially a radius of 500 mts. around installations was banned for fishermen. However, the same has now been increased to five nautical miles which translates roughly to around eight kilometers. If the same yardstick is applied in Goa, the fishermen will not be allowed to carry out their trade anywhere around that area as MPT seeks to push them to Bimbeli from where the Navy is planning to evict them.

A question that comes to mind is why should the Navy want to set up another squadron in Goa when it has such a huge base at neighbouring Karwar which is not really very far off. Besides, Goa has given more than sufficient land to the Navy and other armed forces of the country including the island of Anjediv for free.

Sir, we earnestly appeal to you to protect the interest of the traditional fishermen who are the aam admi that you keep talking about. Besides, you have every reason to stall MPT’s nefarious plans as it has refused to co-operate with you.

Therefore, we request you to take immediate steps to ensure that the houses and means of livelihood of the traditional fishermen are protected failing which we shall be forced to come on the streets to protect the interest of Goa and Goans.

Yours sincerely,

Sd /- Sd/- Sd/-

Agnelo Rodrigues Matanhy Saldanha Mohammed SS. Yakub

(President) (General Secretary) (President, Baina RFCOS)

C.c to :- Mr. Milind S. Naik, MLA, Mormugao Constituency.

:- Mr. Jose Philip D’Souza, MLA, Vasco Constituency.

NOTE :- A delegation of five representatives of fishermen from Kantem Baina and other parts of Goa and presented the letter to the C M. on 11th Oct. 2010. The matter is as above. Thanks.

World Food Day – a reminder of our dependence on farming

World Food Day ought to be a day to celebrate the sustenance provided by the earth to the human race and all living forms. The 8 billion strong and growing tribe of humans sitting on top of the food chain should feel exceptionally lucky. Instead, today this occasion brings first to mind numerous challenges being faced by the agriculture sector and the environment. The tiny State of Goa, which is being unscrupulously sold for real estate, mines, industrial estates and other speculative and unsustainable land uses, is on the verge of a collapse of its food and water security systems.

In Goa, there is an urgent need for introspection among the decision makers as well as the people. The State of Goa is blessed with heavy rains and the precipitation is trapped in the forests, the lateritic caps and the coastal wetlands to give Goa the ability to sustain a large population in self-sufficient villages. Goa is one of the places in India where ancient knowledge systems have survived from times immemorial, a fountainhead of wisdom necessary for the survival of mankind. This extremely tiny land hosts an incredible diversity of ecosystems, giving rise to a feeling of being in paradise. In this background, the rapid loss of agricultural lands to unsustainable land uses, fuelled by the large profits to be made, has created an emergency situation like never seen before. Blinded by greed, we have dared to mine in the extremely sensitive Western Ghats, permanently destroying what used to be heaven on earth. In the process, we have also lost forever our precious water. Similarly, industrial estates and even commercial housing have been indiscriminately imposed upon the lateritic plateaus in the midlands, without any consideration to the life-giving functions being carried out by the plateaus for the numerous villages existing at their feet, or for their religious and scientific reverence. Thirdly, real estate and starred tourism have changed pristine coastal villages into environmental time-bombs. The Government has also done its bit in many ways to hasten the doom, especially by ensuring that all Government projects are planned in the prime paddy fields being cultivated by poor ST and other farmers for centuries. This destruction of the Goan paradise is like living the story of the man who killed the goose the lays golden eggs.

GXE implores all Goans to take heed of the changing times and the challenges lying ahead. We need to mend our ways for the survival of the future generations. Saving our agricultural resources is today the biggest challenge. In this endeavor, the Government has to play a leading role by reversing the unsustainable policies of yesteryears, and it can start this process by immediately stopping acquisition of agricultural lands, and implementing the National Policy for Farmers, 2007, overdue for three years now.

Vanxim: Konem konank boll kellem?

Vavradeancho ixtt hacher shapun aileli khobor tarik 11sept 2010 poilea panar zomin chorpeanim igorjek vanxim vikunk boll kelem?

Ganvcho fuddari manuel furtado ani ozone pongdacho karbari xri bruno ferrao hanchea sangneantlean ani to ek nirnoi koso, Bosco de souza Eremita pormonem te xapun ailele khobre pormonem ,lokanchea monan ek dubav utpon zala oso dista.

Goa ani her bharatachea rajanim LAND REFORM haddchem mhunn tea sorkaran tharailem .Tednam goimcho poilo mukhel montri, Bhausaheb Bandodkar 1961 goeank swatontr mellea upran ,agricultural tenancy act 1964 goa rajjeak lagu kelo.Tea acta khal zomin kosoilolea kulachea hokk'k rights rakhun dovorche oxem kaidean tharailem.

Tea upran kaideanchi sudharni korun fifth amendment of the agricultural tenancy act kaido korun cosoil teachi zomin zaunchi mhunn tea kaidean tharailem .Kullanchi zomin mhunge zaum ti , bhatkaranch, Igorjechi,Devlanchi,vo Communidachi tea kaidea khal kossit vikunk zaunchi nam mhunn supreme courtachea nirnnoi pormonem pass zalem.

Aiz munis zaun to dhormwadi bureaucrat ,nitidar vo sado munis porian poixanchem ashek lagun gorib kullanche hokk'k paeam pondak mostita kullanchi zomin kaidea pormonem vikunk zainastanam fotting ponan fraudulant means ti vikta .fotting ponan ti zomin vikunk ,nenar kullam lagim 3 toreche documents korta .

3.Power of attorney.

Hem tinuim documenta vorvim kullank bandun ghettat, ani boroun ghetat ki tannim kednach ti zomin korunk nam, mat ti chukun tanchea navar zalea mhunn dor kullanchi signature gheun tankam zommin bhairim kortat.
Maggie silveira sangneam pormonem 4,85,350 chourad metranchi zomin sale deed, sale transfer korpachi kagdam potram 2006 vorsachea feb 11 ver kelea mhunn ti sangtam zalear,vachpeank ani kaido somzotoleank ek vichitr weird kosem distam ani dubav zata.

Oxem dison eta ki zomin chorpeanim vanxim vikunk igorjek boll kelem? Vo igorjen vanxim chorpeank boll kelem?

Francis Rodrigues
Tiracol, Goa

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tribes questions mining in Curtorim

The Scheduled Tribes Association of Sao Jose de Areal village, Salcete denounces the Public Notice in the Herald dated 8th October 2010 declaring the intention of Communidade of Curtorim to hold an auction on 17th and 18th of October 2010 for establishing quarries and crushers on common lands of our village.

The gaunkars of Sao Jose de Areal condemn this illegal and anti-people decision taken by the Communidade of Curtorim and demand that the same be dropped immediately. It is learnt that the Communidade has made announcements regarding the auction in Curtorim and Maina Churches on sunday 10th October 2010, but has not informed us, either directly or through our parish. By failing to inform us, the Communidade has exposed its vested interests and absence of bonafides towards the ST community of our village.

The hills of our village are common lands, traditionally used for sustainable uses only, such as forestry and agriculture in their diverse forms and housing for villagers. RP 2021 shows the hills of Sao Jose de Areal as Orchard zone and no development slopes. In fact, most of these hills are covered under social forestry agreements between the forest department and the communidade of Curtorim, as per agreements dated 5th June 1991 and 14th December 1992. The RP 2001 also shows these hills as being under social forestry.

During recent years, large scale illegal quarrying for basalt stone extraction has destroyed many sections of our hills. In spite of our struggles to save our village, the destruction has continued unabated. The ecology, water security, soil generation and the very survival of our village is dependent on the well-being of these hills. The sustainability of the large population of our village is not possible without these hills. It is essential that a restoration plan be prepared so that these hills are returned to their natural glory, rather than auctioning them for irreversible destruction.

The majority of the villagers of Sao Jose de Areal belong to Scheduled Tribes. The hills of our village rightfully belong to us, the original residents of our village, even though the custody rests with the Communidade of Curtorim on account of the historical ties between the villages of Sao Jose De Areal and Curtorim. The Forest Rights Act gives statutory recognition to our rights over the forests of our village and any attempt to alienate them from us is illegal under this new legislation. The Gram Sabha of Sao Jose de Areal has also unanimously resolved to stop all basalt quarries in our village. The villagers can no longer tolerate the pollution caused by the quarrying and crushing activities.

The auction proposed to be held on 17th and 18th of October 2010 is not only against the Commundade's code and the Forest Rights Act, but also violates the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, since the land is forest land. Therefore, the Communidade of Curtorim must take up a plan for the restoration of the hills, rather than to encourage further destruction of our village to fill the pockets of a few. As a sustainable alternative, we propose that the Communidade of Curtorim consider allowing the villagers to use the same lands for forestry, agriculture and grazing. The rate proposed by the Communidade for quarrying is Rs. 18/- per sq meter, and for crusher units is Rs. 8/- per sq meter. We are prepared to pay the same rate for our traditional uses of our lands, including cultivation and grazing.

We hope that better sense shall prevail and that we are not forced to take further measures to protect that which belongs to us and countless future generations from destruction at the hands of a few. We publicly announce our resolution to fulfil our constitutional duty to safeguard our environment and shall not allow its destruction at any costs

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GAKUVED objects to proposal to declare Khotigao WLS as Critical Wildlife Habitat


The Chief Conservator of Forest,
Directorate of Forest,
Panaji, Goa

Sub: Adivasi Right to Recognition and Declaration of their Land Rights under Forest Rights Act, 2006.


GAKUVED Federation strongly objects the decision of of the government to declare Khotigao Wildlife Sanctuary as 'Critical Wildlife Habitat' without settling claims of the Adivasi tribes and other forest dwellers under Forest Rights Act 2006 as it will be the total violation of Article 21 of the constitution of India. Article 21 of the Constitution assures the Adivasi tribes the right to their livelihood, right to their homes, right to their environment, right to their life and to live with human dignity.

Further to bring to your notice that in order to highlight problems related to land belonging to the tribal people in Goa GAKUVED has organized "People's Tribunal" with the theme "Restoration of Adivasi Homelands in Goa" on 30th & 31st May, 2009 at Menezes Braganza Hall, Panaji, Goa.

I am enclosing herewith the 'Interim Observations' of the said "People's Tribunal" for your kind information and request you to take necessary action on the recommendations made by the Panel of Jury.

Hope the above request will be considered and the land and resource rights of Adivasi tribes are not denied.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,


(Durgadas G. Gaonkar)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Goa Monuments in grave danger with new Act -Interview with Prajal Sakhardande (Target Goa) An appeal to Goa Government‏

Governor of Goa -Dr. S.S. Sidhu

Chief Minister of Goa - Digamabar Kamat

Opposition Leader Mr Manohar Parrikar

Mr Narendra Kumar - Secretary to Governor of Goa

Dear Sirs,

We as concerned Goans have a responsibility to highlight to you, our serious concerns, shock, dismay and protest at the highhanded manner that our rich ancient and priceless heritage is being put at great risk and immeasurable damage by the actions of the Government of Goa in making amendments to the original and perfectly comprehensive Goa Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1978, obviously with a vested interest and hidden agenda that is obvious to all.

While our concerns raised to you tend to be consistently ignored, we demand that you take cognizance of our wishes and aspirations. To that effect we stand behind Prajal Sakhardande's demands in this article from Target Goa that is appended for your reference. I also am attaching the news-report from the Times of India for your reference.

Unfortunately the well-being and interests of Goa and Goans are being sacrificed by the governmenmt of Goa to promote it's hidden agenda and vested interests, whether it be in the failure to of the Government to implement a Regional Plan per the demands of the people, protection of our Goan lands, environment, villages, pandering to the wishes of the Hotel Industry, Real Estate, Casinos, Mining Lobbies and now by this latest attempt to even destroy our rich heritage. Unfortunately "the Golden Hand" that our dear Chief Minister alludes to in his Third Year Anniversary self-congratulatory message makes a mockery of the common man and woman in Goa, by the very anti-people stand that the Government of Goa has adopted in all it's wheelings and dealings against the wishes of the people.

We are shocked how the interests of Goa and Goans continues to be crushed and how the Government of Goa seems to be doing it's utmost best in destroying our rich legacy, heritage and priceless monuments.

To that effect we strongly urge you to immediately respond to the communication that has been send by our Heritage Activists namely to you the the Governor, to the Chief Minister, to INTACH and to to every concerned authority. We are shocked that none of you have chosen to reply.

The people of Goa also ask that you de-notify this Act immediately and restore the status-quo failing which we endorse the decision oto file a PIL with the High Court.

Likewise may I request all concerned Goans to voice their opinions irrespective whether the addressed parties above chose to respond to you or not as from one's previous experience as well as that of Prajal Sakhardande's their intentional silence does tend to be deafening. Please share this message with all concerned Goans.

Roger D’Souza


Goa Monuments in grave danger with new Act (From Target Goa)

Prajal Sakhardande is worried that the amended Monuments Act gifts Goa’s monuments to any developer to re-erect or re-construct and no one can approach the courts to stop this robbery of our heritage

What are the amendments that have shocked heritage lovers all over Goa?

Our basic objection is why was the need for the Government of Goa to make any amendments to the original and perfectly comprehensive Goa Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1978. That was a good Act where the government was merely the caretaker of the monuments of Goa which belong to the people of Goa. The monuments were to be looked after, i.e. maintained, preserved and conserved by the Archaeological Department in a caretaker capacity. In the new Amendment to the 1978 Act which has been called The Goa Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Act, 2010 the “maintenance” clause has been substituted to include “re-construction” and “re-erection” of the monument. It is also in force retrospectively from March 1, 2007. This means that the monuments – forts, churches, chapels, temples can be pulled down and rebuilt.

What are you specifically objecting to?

This Act is highly unconstitutional. It was made into an Act when the Bill was signed by the Governor of Goa Dr S S Sidhu. We object to a number of clauses in the Act; especially the one which says the Government of Goa can invite any other agency or private party to take over the monument. The private party, let’s say a hotel developer from Delhi or Dubai, or Mumbai, can re-construct or re-erect a monument and turn it into a hotel. It could be a Delhi hotel developer.

But surely you or I can approach the courts to stop the gifting away of our heritage?

You and I or any member of the public will not be able to go to court. This is by far the worst clause which says that the courts cannot take cognizance of any case filed by a member of the public. A suit or application can only be filed by the government or after getting permission of the government. And the Governor of Goa S S Sidhu gave his assent to the Bill seeking to amend the Act of 1978. That is why we have written him a letter expressing our fears and protest, but he has not chosen to reply yet.

Have you made your objections known to other authorities?

We have written to the Governor, to the Chief Minister, to INTACH to every concerned authority, but we have not received a single reply. We have to stop this Act. As a last, a very last resort, we will file a PIL in the High Court. We will give them some more time to reply to us. If they do not then we have to do something about it. This is our heritage they are playing with. This belongs to us and to the generations to come.

Can heritage activists work with the Church to get this Act revoked or restored to what it was in 1978?

Yes we can, because there are many churches and chapels in the list of 51 protected monuments.

What is the significance of the clause “in retrospect from March 1, 2007”?

If a letter of intent was issued to a developer on March 1, 2007, allowing him to re-erect or re-construct a fort, then he can take over the fort today and do pretty much as he pleases. We cannot stop him, because the Act forbids the courts from taking cognizance of any cases filed by the public. Our monuments which bind us to our past will be gone forever from our possession.

There are those who would say, so what, let the monuments be used commercially, at least the government will earn some money from them. Would they be wrong?

Yes, they would be wrong. Take a quiet village. The fort will be turned into a five star luxury resort. What is going to happen? Shops will come up, taxis, rickshaws, motorbikes, housing will be built for the staff of the hotel and all the ancillary industries. The poor will string up hutments in the fields and every vacant piece of land. Water and electricity will be diverted to the newcomers. The demography of the village will change with the number of outsiders pouring in. No sewerage, no waste management. Is that what we want? The villages of Goa will have to decide. And they will have to decide soon.

Can you name some of the monuments and the villages they lie in?

1. The Church & Convent of St Francis Xavier, Old Goa

2. Our Lady of the Mount, Old Goa

3. Santa Monica Convent Chapel of the Growing Cross, Old Goa

4. College of St Populo, Old Goa

5. Church of St Peter, Old Goa

6. Gunpowder Factory wall, Ribandar

7. Casa do Polvora, Panvelim

8. Chapel of St Jeronimo, Chorao

9. British Cemetery at Donapaula

10. Franciscan Church of Reis Magos which was the first church in Bardez.

11. Juvem Fort at St Estevam

12. Chapora Fort

13. Temple of Saptakoteshwar, at Narve.

14. Khorjuvem Fort is in immediate danger of being taken over.

15. Cudnem Jain Temple

16. Namazgah at Bicholim

17. Adilshahi Masjid at Surlapar

18. Alorna Fort

19. Shigao Cave

20. Cabo de Rama, Canacona

21. Gate of Rachol Fortress

22. Mormugao Fort

23. Agapur Madhavdev temple

24. Kundaim Cave

25. Khandepar Cave

26. Rivona Buddhist cave

27. Aquem Cave

28. Mahalsa Tank

29. Chandreshwar Temple Paroda

30. Pansaimal rock art

31. Kajzur rock art

32. Consua math

33. Vichundrem Naryandev temple near Rivona

34. Nagueshi temple

35. Kamakshi temple

36. Jain Bhakti temple Bandode

37. Ancient Site of Shantadurga temple at Kelshi

38. Ancient site of Ramnath Temple at Loutolim

39. Ishwar Bhat at Khandepar

40. Saptakoteshwar temple at Opa Khandepar

41. Tiracol Fort which has already been damaged by a hotelier

42. Our Lady of Saude, Sancoale


New heritage Act is threat to protected Goan monuments - Times of India

TNN, Sep 29, 2010, 03.00am IST

PANAJI: All 51 state-protected monuments are under threat from a new Act passed by the Goa government, heritage lovers have alleged. They pointed out to clauses in the Act for reconstruction of heritage assets which, they warned, may be misused to alter the character of the assets and hand them over to private parties.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, members of the Goa Heritage Action Group (GHAG) raised apprehensions about loopholes in the Goa Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (amendment) Bill, 2010. The legislation, which was recently passed in the state legislative assembly, seeks to empower the government to carry out re-erection and reconstruction. It also authorizes the government and permits "any other agency" to put any protected monument to re-adaptive use, members pointed out.

"All 51 monuments under the state archives and archaeology department are vulnerable," Poonam Varma-Mascarenhas, a conservation architect and GHAG member, said. She added that the clause about reconstruction may be misinterpreted to alter the character and aesthetics of monuments.

"Reconstruction is carried out in extreme cases of full decay as a last resort. It is the last of the seven degrees of intervention," Varma-Mascarenhas explained. Pointing out that re-erection and reconstruction are broad terms and have been misused in the past to alter the nature of monuments, she added, "The international charters for conservation of historic buildings decree that minimum effective action is always the best."

GHAG executive member Prajal Sakhardande agreed. Pointing out that the Mahadev temple of Curdi had been transplanted stone-by-stone from a site under submergence in the Selaulim dam area to a safer place, he said, "They did not alter a single stone during the process."

Varma-Mascarenhas said reconstruction can be carried out as part of policy in the original Act itself without an amendment. "But an exercise evaluating the historical, architectural, social and cultural values of the monument, to assess the degree of intervention required, is essential," she stressed.

Opposing the handover of monuments to private parties, the heritage lovers said the government's approach to conservation and exclusion of people in these matters increased possibilities of the Act being misused. The fact that Cabo de Rama fort had been omitted from the TCP list and re-included after protests raises suspicions, they added. "The monuments belong to the people and are entrusted to the government, which is considered the caretaker, in good faith," Varma-Mascarenhas said.

GHAG secretary Jack Sukhijia called the implementation of the Act, which was passed during the assembly's monsoon session with retrospective effect from March 2007, as "unconstitutional". "The clause barring courts from taking cognizance of an offence punishable under this Act is objectionable," Sukhijia said.

Sakhardande said GHAG has written to the governor raising apprehensions that the amendment may lead to the destruction of priceless history and heritage. "We are also trying to create awareness and have sought legal opinion. We may file a public interest litigation," he said. He alleged that the disappearance of the 13th century hero stone (Virgal) from Nagvem in Sattari may be part of an antique smuggling racket.

GHAG, which was formed on September 30, 2000, will, meanwhile, observe its tenth anniversary on October 2, with a cultural programme in Panaji, members said.

Who will save Goa?

This is an interesting article by Hartman de Souza on recent visit of Western Ghats panel to Goa. click here for the story.

Kushawati in mining silt

Kushawati river is flowing with Muddy water which is a sign of large scale catchment area of this river is disturb on account of ongoing mining activities.

Village sources of Cavrem, Maina and Colomba informed that around 10 to 15 mines are in operation in catchment area of Kushawati river which is responsible for increasing the torpidity of the water. Village sources further informed that previously muddy water flows into the Kushawati river only when it rains heavily and it used to get diluted within a day but now even without there being heavy rains the Kushawati river flows with muddy water which continues for days together.

Villagers from Cavrem and Colomba informed that the mining companies pumps large scale muddy water from the mining pits and releases it into the rivulet of Kushawati which results in increasing the torpidity of the water in Kushawati river.

John Fernandes

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Goa Pollution board cracks down on illegal mining

Click here for the story.

No CWH status to Cotigao

Click here for the story.

Fish workers to observe protest day on October 29

Staff Reporter

Agitation against Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2010

Mass conventions planned on November 21

Plea to increase kerosene quota for fish workers


KOLLAM: Fish workers across the country are gearing up to launch
strong agitations demanding the withdrawal of the Coastal Regulation
Zone Notification 2010 issued recently by the Union Ministry of
Environment and Forests (MoEF), Kerala Swathantra Matsyathozhilali
Federation State president T. Peter has said.

At a press conference here on Tuesday, Mr. Peter said the decisions in
this connection was taken at a meeting of the National Fish workers'
Forum (NFF) in Chennai on September 25 and 26.

October 29 will be a ‘protest day.' There will be mass conventions on
World Fishermen Day on November 21. On October 1,5 the NFF will submit
petitions and suggestions about the notification to Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and leaders of other
political parties.

Prior to issuing the notification, ten consultations were held across
the country to obtain the views of the fishing community and other
communities living along the coast. But the notifications do not
reflect the opinions expressed, Mr. Peter said.


The notification seemed to totally ignore the long-standing demand of
fishing communities for their ‘right to live along the coast.'

According to the notification, 12 nautical miles of sea will come
under the MoEF and not the Union Ministry for Agriculture. This will
prove harmful to the fishing community. The notification neither
protects the fishing community nor the coastal environment, he said.

Mr. Peter called for an increase in the kerosene quota to fishermen.

Under the present quota, fishermen end up paying more for fuel than
what they earn from fishing. In order to protect the traditional
fishing sector more kerosene at fair price should be allocated.

He suggested the setting up of kerosene bunks under government control.

Federation general secretary P.P. John, Kollam district president S.
Francis and secretary A. Andrews were also present.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jaitapur Nuclear Eclipse shadows Indian Democracy

On 4th October 2010 evening two of us from Goa found ourselves in Sakhri Nata for a fishermen’s gathering ‘machchimar melava’. It is a small town of Sakhri Nata on Konkan coast that forms an urban centre in Ratnagiri taluka in India’s Maharastra State. Indian democracy here is radiated with French company Areva locating their nuclear power plant with Indian government providing it with red carpet welcome. The surrounding is mostly of fishermen who fish in Arabian sea via mechanized trawlers and other small non-mechanized boats. Thirty years ago these two varieties of fishermen clashed with each other. Today they are clashing with world’s biggest nuclear power plant that is supposed to generate 10,000 mega watts of electricity. National Environmental Engineering Institute (NEERI) prepared the report on this project but its scientists and technician found no trace of fishermen’s villages – Madban and others surrounding villages to suit the location of Nuclear Plant in thickly populated area. Scientists of NEERI are principal colluders in this deadly episode unfolding around 200 kilometers away from Goa’s northern border. In other words NEERI indulged in scientifically unethical practices to prepare a doctored report. And in order to make the reality as per the report government agencies has mounted tremendous pressure on the fishermen to leave fishing trade. It has banned Nepali labor from entering trawler citing that they are a threat to national security. As if Nuclear power plant on the banks of Arabian Sea is any less of national security issue. It has censorship and complete immunity from investigations from anyone including the Parliament. And now of course with Nuclear Liability Bill being passed in the Indian parliament Nuclear Industry dominated by USA and Europe has a field day. It is totally free to carry on the orgy of violence and deception, to remain as invisible as Alfa, Beta, and Gama rays. So fisheries are being pushed to fold up and let the control of Arabian Sea under the nuclear baron’s buttons. 5,500 crore litres of water from Arabian Sea will be used daily and after hitting it will be released back into the Sea thereby threatening marine ecology adversely. All this I learned in the introduction at the public meeting at Sakhri Nata by Vaishali Patil who is active in various protests movements that includes mining out of Western Ghats. Vaishali is keenly followed up by the Indian Intelligence agencies and in Sakhri Nata special sleuth from IB was there as an extended eye of the big brother. Number of people spoke at this evening public meeting video filmed by Maharastra Police. With Kaiga power nuclear plant just 22 kilometers away from Goa’s southern border in Karnatak already a reality Goa state is now is nuclear sandwich state with alarming consequences.

Pravin Dhawankar shared his experience of facing police violence while in struggle. He is involved locally to mobilize people against Nuclear power plant. He questioned if India is free after witnessing police mauling of protesting citizens in Jaitapur. Police moved in Madban village kicked every village house and even arrested few people. Pravin himself was arrested while he was sick and subjected to police harassment some time ago. He was sure about what is needed to be done: time to come out on the streets.

Madban Sarpanch Bicaji Vagdhare disclosed that Colonial Law – Land Acquisition Act 1894 has been imposed by the State to take over the land for nuclear power plant. He was clear in the resolved the struggle: government will be responsible for the consequences.

Nirajat from the organization called Lakayat gave lots of technical information to the public. The nuclear capacity is 100 times that of Hiroshima atom bombs. It would generate 300 tonnes nuclear waste per year for 24 years. This will amount to total waste of 12,000 tonnes. This waste will remain radio active for the period of 3,000 years as per the doctored government studies but actual nuclear life of the waste will be 1 lakh lakh (10000000000) years.

President of National Fishermen’s Forum Mathany Saldanha called for the political fight and asked the fishermen to join the national protest on 29th October 2010.

Former Member of Indian Parliament Major Sudhir Sawant launched scathing criticism of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh branding him as an Agent of USA corporations – ‘Dalal’. He said that it is the foreign corporate who are responsible for setting up Nuclear Power plants in India. He said this is a conspiracy to blackmail India.

Justice Kolse Patil, a retired High court Judge called for peaceful protests and asked people to launch house to house campaign to create awareness. He said that Gandhi and Indian constitution provides enough resources for successful movement against the corporate in peaceful manner. He directed his salvos against the police repression and asked people to combine efforts to fight police out the Jaitapur: ‘Once police leave, nuclear plant will leave’. He declared that he will join the struggle against Areva nuclear plant on streets with the protesting villagers. He called for fearlessness in a fight till the end.

Thomas Kochery, a veteran in fishermen’s struggle in India who survived heart attack four times last year was again at his committed best and laid out the agitation roadmap for future tracing its roots into the past struggles. He observed that Government of India is incapable of handling Chernobyl type of nuclear accident. This is evident from the fact that Government of India has done nothing after the Bopal gas tragedy. He mentioned that all the nuclear power plants are planed to be located on the coast because companies want to dump all the radio active waste in the sea. ‘They want to kill all the fish. They want to communicate radio activity to all the human beings. 30-40 kilometers radius distance will affected with the radioactive waste. All future generations, pregnant women will be affected with radio active rays. We have to oppose because of heavy generation of Carbon dioxide (CO2). India has no plans to reduce CO2.’ He further added ‘we have to oppose new CRZ notification. By opposing CRZ we are opposing all the projects on the coast. Fishing communities are betrayed by Government of India. We have to rise up like 1991-97 protests against deep sea fishing policy. One crore fishermen had stood against this. If we rise up on the entire coast, all the political parties will come behind us. Agitation is starting on 29th October 2010.’

‘There must be no fishing on 29th October. There must be no selling of fish. No eating of fish. This is the beginning. Like how we blocked Bombay harbor, blocked Kutch harbor, Porbandar harbor, blocked Cochin and Vishakkapatnam harbor. 1994 February 22 entire fishing community went on strike – 100%. No markets worked. All political parties stood with us. This is the way fishermen responded against deed Sea fishing in India.’

‘Similarly we have to rise up and more and show on 29th October. Rise up from all over India, from every fishing community. Victory will be ours.’

Nuclear eclipse of Indian democracy will hopefully go away with passage of time. It demands tremendous efforts in defense of life, livelihood, Western Ghats and my dearest Arabian Sea on whose shore I was born on a sand dune on a rainy day in 1973.

Arabian Sea has been playmate and a friend all the years in this life. In times of worst of difficulties I opened my heart to him. Now Arabian Sea has been threatened by Nasty nukes those responsible will only be dumped in the Arabian Sea. It does not matter whether it is Prime Minister of India or of France or any one else. Interest of Life on land and life on Sea take undoubted precedence over orgies of nuclear plants. Its time to fight. This is my cry. This is my beginning. Invite to join to defend my Arabian Sea. I extend my hand and waiting for you hold on to make a chain of hands across the shores of Arabian Sea. I call upon you to generate a wave to blow away dirty nukes from the shores of Arabian Sea. I walk with head held high and fear to none. My voice is my weapon. My mind is my fire. I share my spark so that you get ignited. I carry no wings of fire but live my footprints on the sandy shores of Arabian Sea. I have taken the first step. Next one to follow. Dirty nukes go away. Arabian Sea is not for you. I am a child of Arabian Sea and this is my command to you.

Sebastian Rodrigues

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Land Grab threatens Goan Island

Watch this video on Vanxim Island at this links. click here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Doctor decoy for Gaunekar in Vanxim today

Unknown man and woman today entered controversial island of Vanxim and canvassed that they are doctors and asked people to be their patients. The doctor couple has told the villagers that they will be beginning their practice in house that is under control of Mahendra Gaunekar, the man who has received Rs.25 crores as security deposit to clear this island of people and hand it over for corporates. The intension of doctor couple may not be difficult to guess: to clear the way for Golf tourism in the island. So called Doctors are looking for patients or victims is anyone's guess. Guess is easy to make. So called doctor also visited the sites where villagers had planted the vegetables yesterday.

Yesterday the islanders had carried on cultivation on the lands that corporates are looking to take over for Golf and starred hotel. Number of vegetable plants were planted by the villagers.

After plantation villagers erected the board near the Vanxi-Divar ferry point that says "Gaunekar go away!". People of the island are opposed to sale of their homeland to Mahendra Gaunekar by the Archbishop of Goa and have taken legal recourse to defend themselves.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Goa church oppose illegal mining in state


PANAJI: Accusing the Goa government of shielding illegal mining in the state, the Goa Roman Catholic Church has asked people to "awaken" and save the hills, forests and tribals residing in the hinterland.

In a message to its flock on the occasion of Social Apostolate Day Oct 3, the Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), the social arm of the Roman Catholic Church here, and Caritas, the Church's development arm, has accused the Congress-led coalition government in the state of "bad, insensitive governance".

"Should not the government have taken immediate steps to stop illicit mining activities? If this is not bad governance, what else is it? Goans, awaken and together save our hills, our forests, the ‘aam admi' of those areas and rest of us!," states the message titled 'Environmental Value of Biodiversity -- a Common Responsibility', a copy of which his available with IANS.

The message is endorsed by CSJP executive secretary Fr. Maverick Fernandes and Caritas director Fr. Valeriano Vaz.

Calling mining in the state "illegal" and "immoral", the CSJP has also said that illegal mining for iron ore was rapidly destroying Goa and the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats, in which 104 operational mines in Goa are located.

"Environmentally immoral and in many cases illegal mining for iron ore is rapidly destroying Goa," the message states.

The Church castigates the state's politicians, accusing them of being blind to the loss of traditional occupations and livelihood of farmers and others who earned on the produce of the forest.

"Statements by politicians that this industry provides jobs to a large number of people and hence must be permitted to prosper, reveal how little these persons in power are concerned about the irreparable destruction of the lower slopes of the Western Ghats, the devastating pollution of air, soil and water which threaten the basic health and well-being of the people of the area, including the labour force," the message states.

The Church in Goa is an influential organistion with over 25 percent of the state population being Christian.

Illegal and unchecked mining is a sensitive issue in Goa, with both civil society groups and the opposition voicing their concern about the issue repeatedly. According to data submitted in the monsoon session of the Goa legislative assembly, ore worth Rs.4,000 crore was illegally mined and exported out of Goa to countries like China, Japan and Romania.

Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar claims that nearly 18 percent of Goa's total 40 million mining output comprised of illegally mined ore. He has also accused Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and several of his cabinet ministers of being in hand-in-glove with the illegal mining industry.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Review of local communities struggle against mining in Goa

Sebastian Rodrigues


Mining industry in Goa is open cast with three major minerals: iron ore, manganese and to some extend bauxite. It has its beginning early twentieth century and exports of the ore began in 1948. The chief destination initially has been Japan. Gradually other European countries also entered as destination in later years. Towards the beginning of the twentieth century China surpassed everyone else as destination of Iron Ore. Protests against mining industry began during the decade of 1970s. They were repressed by the State police force. Renewed sophisticated protests swept Goa from 2007 onwards. Various organizations have played important role in politicizing the common people, and media. One of the distinctive features of these protests is the decentralized, autonomous multi-layered dissent by tribal groups and middle classes. The use of information technology to defuse State repression has been another key ingredient.

The Beginning

The mining activity in Goa starts during colonial era dominated by Portuguese political domination with the support of local caste and class elites. Portuguese steadily increased their hold on Goa after landing in Goa in 1510 on the invitation of local Brahmins wanting to overthrow muslim rule of Adil shah. This was done successfully. Muslim rule was replaced by Christian rule. Both the rules were of colonial nature. Portuguese went on increasing their hold over the Goa in the next few centuries. Goa has world’s longest colonial domination in terms of time. It ranged from 1510 to 1961. Portuguese was first direct European colonial powers in India and were the last ones to leave. Its basic concern remained in using Goa as a Port for trade strategy due to its appropriate location on the west coast of India. Spices were amongst the items that were mostly sort by the Portuguese and mining never crossed into their priorities till the early twentieth century when the German geologists were drafted in to undertake Goa’s mineral survey that confirmed the existence of mineral wealth in Goa. Over the next few decades, mining activity began with the manual digging of the earth – open cast mining. This technique of manual digging led to the export of 100 tones of iron ore to Japan in 1948. It went to Japan to contribute substantially towards the rebuilding of its war torn economy after US nuclear bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Japan continued to be Goa’s stable destination for Iron ore and manganese trade till date. China boom is an additional burden on the Goa’s resources without replacing Japan.

This involved granting of mining leases by Portuguese colonial rulers. Nearly 891 mining leases were granted with patrimonial rights to the individuals and companies that supported perpetuation of colonial rule of Portuguese in Goa. Portuguese granted the mining leases from 1929 to 1959. Technically colonial government had granted concessions – tutelar de cocessao . However Indian government through legal intervention changed it into Leases that needs renewal periodically and removed patrimonial rights to the lease holders.

The total areas covered under these mining leases touches nearly 68,000 hectares of Goa’s land in a distance of 95 kilometers out of total 105 kilometers from north to south of Goa. The mining activity was manual in nature and could not inflict major damage to the ecology at the site of mining even though rivers transporting iron ore were damaged early in the loading and unloading operations. Manual mining could not go deeper than ground water table. Hence it can be called an ecologically sustainable mining practice even though economically it is exploitative practice as few families usurped almost all the economic gains. This could be sustained because these entities involved in mining trade were stable source of support to the Portuguese colonial administration. This kind of arrangement is so typical of any colonial regime. It was mining companies that were major source of strength for Portugal to master audacity to continue that colonial rule in Goa even after India’s Independence when British rule came to an end. The Portuguese earned major advantage in this till 1961 when the Indian army intervened to end the colonial era.

Goa’s mining trade is deeply entrenched in global geo-politics. Because Japan wanted the steady supply of raw materials value addition in the form of manufacture is strikingly absent in Goa. Centre-Periphery relationship characterizes the relationship between Goa and Japan in mining sector. Japan buys Goa’s ore, indulges in value addition and then markets the finished products all over the globe. It is against the interest of the destination countries to let Goa develop its own industry. Hence these powers has cultivated a tiny yet rich coterie of elites that has kept its firm control over polity and media in Goa to effectively check mate any voice of dissent to these exploitative and dominating arrangement of power. The 1961 transfer of power of rule over Goa from Portugal to India cam about only after Indian then Prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru assured the local mining elites in Goa that mines in Goa would not be nationalized even though contrary was the situation in rest of India. This concession granted to the mining companies in Goa was a major factor that led to neutralizing of NATO strikes on India after Indian army marched inside Goa’s International borders. Nehru made very lucrative exception to the miners in Goa and that made them continue their hegemonic position in the polity of Goa during post liberation period.

Around the decade of 1970s mining industry in Goa began the process of mechanization of mining sector. The rapid change in the excavation process led to dramatic changes in the character of the industry. Exploitation that was largely limited towards economic sphere found itself flowing into ecological sphere very rapidly.

The Pressures on Ecology

With the introduction and intensification of mining industry ecological threat became gradually visible. Location of mining leases in the villages depending upon forest, agriculture and nature water bodies gradually became the targets of this predatory industry. The paddy fields began to be directly affected in number of ways. All the ways however are negative. Quite often the location of paddy fields became the site for the mining activity and peasants lost control over the land directly. Sometimes mines were located at a close proximity of the paddy fields and waste discharges were released in paddy fields with no control from state authorities. Sometimes mine in the relatively close proximity would be causing the drying up of natural water bodies that include drying up of springs that would supply water to village wells and village paddy fields. Sometimes the varying combinations of all these factors would cause serious social and ecological insecurity in the village.

The village level perception of ecological threats when viewed in combination with various other villages and topography some new level of ecological threats becomes visible. The first factor that becomes clear that huge chuck of Goa’s land is under mining activities some mines are in operation other can become operational in future. There is something particularly disturbing that quickly comes to the fore is that besides paddy fields and water bodies large number of mines are directly located inside the ecologically sensitive areas of western ghats range of mountains known as one of the dozen bio-diversity hotspot of the planet earth. Doing mining activity here could very dramatically cause huge amount of loss to the global ecological wealth. The second factor has to do with the topography of the State of Goa. On the eastern past the mountains from western ghats, in the middle are fertile alluvial planes and towards the west is the coastline. These three ecological regions falls within various zones classified under water shed map of India and are sensitively intergraded. Mountains from the Ghats harvest sunlight as well as water from the rains. Naturally harvested water is what causes fresh water perennial water bodies like rivers, rivulets, streams to flow onto the plains and supply water for agriculture, dams, industry and myriad of other things. Plains are also the approximate sites wherein the fresh water and saline Arabian Sea water intersect and gives form ecotone region. Coast of Goa is largely reclaimed from the Arabian Sea by the ancestors of tribal settlers of Goa – the gawdas. Their ancestors worked on the geography of Goa over the centuries to reclaim the fertile lands. This fact has been too often sought to be covered up by invasive Brahmin tribe with their Parshuram Arrow myth reclaiming the coast of Goa. Currently this coast is covered with tourism destination centers of attractions. Tourism industry depends entire on the water from the hinterlands piped from various dams – Selaulim, Opa, Asanaora etc all of which are facing threat due to rapidly expanding mining industry in the hinterlands. The three regions of Goa closely related to each other and mining activity is perceived as causing major social and ecological threat to the state of Goa fearing that this industry may turn Goa into desert besides providing body blow to the fisheries industry due to polluting of rivers.

Threat to water, threat to forest, threat to agriculture, are some of he major ecological issues on the horizon in Goa. These are the issues that State government that is dominated by mining industry as well as mining industry itself sought to put under the carpet escape its liabilities for over half a century of mineral usury of Goa. It was done through various formal and informal structures of domination.

Mining industry’s structures of domination

One of the favored tools of the mining industry particularly when the protest began to show themselves resisting mining industry was the use of violence through state police force. Mining industry in Goa never cultivated their private mafia. State police force would do their job perhaps for some off the record considerations. The first known protests against mining industry came about in later half of the decade of 1970s when the two villages in Goa’s northern taluka of Bicholim revolted – Mayem and Sirgao. Bicholim taluka has mines of number of mining companies – Dempos, Chowgules, Bandekars, Sesa Goa etc. Those who were involved in rebellion were arrested by Goa Police. Mere arrest that time was sufficient enough to demoralize the peasants. They did not know any way of surpassing police repression and suspended their agitation. Few villages peasants were offered money to suspend the rebellion. The decade of 1970s went about with these kinds sporadic protests with no co-ordination of politics of one village with another. No serious search for surmounting police siding with mining companies. These protests were exclusively were of the people directly affected by mining – particularly their paddy fields. Protests during this time evaporated yet the thought of havoc that mining ir ravaging their villages and need to do something remained in a latent yet simmering state only to resurface in the first decade of the twenty-first century. So the first mechanism of domination has been the use of police force.

The second favored structure of domination of mining industry has been the control of media. Mining industry with a remarkable foresight set up their newspapers. Dempos set up Navhind Times in English and Navaprabha in Marathi. Chowgules started Gomantak in Marathi and later Gomantak times in English. Salgaoncar started monthly magazine ‘Goa Today’ and later Konkani daily ‘Sunaprant’. These papers saw to that public attention never gets focused on the ecological crimes that their owners were indulging in. The remaining papers – Tarun Bharat, Rastramat in Marathi and Herald in English too did not carry any consistent exposition of mining industry’s ill doings even though their owners were not mining companies. Press in Goa suffered from three major defects – censorship by owners, self-censorship, and fear of the mining industry that was all pervasive in society. Overall it served as an effective structure of domination for mining industry till 2008 when media began to become increasingly vigilant, aware and ownership of few newspapers shifted away from mining industry, entry of Times of India in English, Lokmat, Pudhari and other publications in Marathi, and effective use of internet by activists in Goa to overcome limits posed by mainstream media.

The third favored structure of structure of domination of the mining industry has been the donations to the village temples. This is an informal form of structures that worked wonders for the mining industry. Paltry sum of donation to demolish and reconstruct the village temples would see that the village never comes to pursue the path of rebellion against mining industry. Psychology of the villagers is such that that they remain indebted to the donor for a long time. This phenomena is rampant is all over Goa and effectively exploited by mining companies. It is not uncommon to witness scenes of posh temples in mining ravaged villages. Religion has been hijacked by mining industries and people in various areas have not been able to put a brake on this trend. It continues to serve the mining companies. Related aspect here is periodic payments made as compensation for the destruction of agricultural fields. However of late number of people have refused to subscribe to the ideology of compensation.

The fourth strong structure of domination has been the hold over educational institutions. Mining companies set up graduate colleges – Dempos - and law college - Salgaoncar to make their presence felt in ideological spectrum of the society. Mining companies has also instituted fellowships for senior researchers. Dempos is one such example. Mining companies and their caste alliances are also involved in writing their history. One of the favored aspects of process is to establish hegemonic hold over Goa, particularly its tribes. It is project of conquest through ideological apparatus to further the agenda of domination not just of the mining industry but over the entire society through thought control measures. Mining companies also has significant influence over the senate of Goa University and its policies. It is because of this influence Goa University was stopped from granting central University status. It is because of this that Goa University has not set up centre for the study for centre of study of tribes in Goa. It is because of this that fees of Goa University are constantly hiked in order to keep the students away from access to higher education. To a large extend mining companies are successful in this venture. It is against the interest of the mining that higher education becomes widespread as the ignited minds will be difficult to curtail in their path if chosen to direct against the mining industry and their caste, class alliances that form coteries and select vice-chancellors.

The fifth strong structure of domination is NGO sector. Mining industry, after facing severe criticism from TERI report in 1997 set up its combine NGO – The Goa Mineral Foundation in 2000. It is working as buffer of public criticism on mining industry. It is involved in whole range of activities from dance classes, distributing notebooks for students, building of toilets, building of bus sheds, sending people for vocational training, watershed programs in one village etc. It has got full time staff that engages in all kinds’ activities except in criticizing mining industry. The funds for this are shared between various mining companies Sesa Goa being one of the prominent one. However it is important to observe here that this NGO of mining company has come as response to the protests against mining and to earn credits for the corporate social responsibility. Government of India in a draft mineral policy has cited this NGO as one of the examples to be replicated by the mining industry in India. On ground in Goa however it has not at all succeeded in diverting attention from core damage caused by mining industry. Nevertheless it is a structure of domination sought to be made effective by mining industry but has not succeeded.

The sixth strong structure of domination by mining industry is use and abuse of judiciary in Goa. After the intense protests this is a phenomenon that has come about providing some succor to the mining industry. Police cases are registered on number false pretexts’, people then are arrested, forced to take bail and then after some months charge-sheeted and cases gets listed in the courts. Then people are served notices at home by court bailiffs and asked to appear in the court on a particular date. After appearing in the court the next date is given for appearance. Judiciary’s role in mining belt of Goa has been largely to frustrate the protesting people. Mining companies aim exactly that. Currently there are over 300 cases in various courts of Goa against various people protesting mining industry’s onslaughts. The state government has the power to withdraw these cases but since the mining companies are using the State government as their executive committee these cases are carrying on. Goa Chief minister Digambar Kamat holds a portfolio of mining minister for over past 15 years and shares personal interest in the continuation of mining industry. He has a family ties with mining companies. In this scenario Judiciary has been used to further the agenda of the mining companies. Judiciary was also used to silence the vocal critic of the mining industry – the author of this paper – by Fomentos by filing civil defamation suit of Rs.500 crores in Calcutta High Court, Kolkatta for his online writings on blog belonging to Gawda, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED). Mining companies are using Judiciary as the very reliable structure of domination.

Seventh strong structure of domination of mining industry is EIA[1] and Public Hearings. These are paid for by mining companies are thoroughly rigged in almost all the cases in numerous manner. EIA studies are tailored not to the objective reality on ground but to suit the interest of the mining companies. This is because it is the mining companies that are financing the EIA studies. On the day of mandatory hearings there is manipulation in terms of venue – very often it is held in minister’s cabin in a far away place from the mining site. MoEF is guilty of ignoring public opposition to mining projects all over Goa and sanctioned environmental clearances there by establishing colonial relationship between the Central government and people of Goa.

Protest agitations against mining Industry

It was 1st April 2001 that the author got agitated on the issue of open cast iron ore mine in Goa. It was at one august gathering of environment lovers in Old Goa that one youth –Vassudev Porob- from Pissurlem village of Sattari taluka got up to intervene in the discussion on Mhadei river diversion by Karnataka Government thereby depriving Goa of water flow. Vassudev Porob sharply focused on his water rich village yet not a single drop existed in village wells due to continuous pumping out of water by mining companies thereby depleting ground water. Hence agriculture was not getting water; cultivation of paddy was becoming impossible.

He barely finished speaking for couple of minutes when a scientist and former director of National Institute of Oceanography Dr. Untawale sprang up from his chair to scold Vassudev for speaking against mining in public “You must never discuss mining in public”. The author challenged Dr. Untawale and declare that not only should all speak loud against mining industry in Goa but also invited everyone at the meeting to a sit –in or Dharna outside the office of mining company in Goa’s capital city of Panjim.

After this it was huge learning experience, very often understanding through roving of boat backwards in time to know what to expect in future that spread vast open before ones mind. Every month one visit to Pissurlem became discipline for the next three years. Learning was not easy. Every visit would contribute towards weakening of chest that was already weak with tuberculosis as first 14 years has been in mining area. Memories of childhood and playing with dust were constant companion on every time author would visit Pissurlem. It downed on author that while family was rotting in dust from 1973 to 1987 - till the family left the place as sickness hounded, and dust made life impossible – there was none to raise the voice and protest. Some how survived the ordeals of childhood and early youth to speak out today.

Agitations in Goa’s minng belt has been spurred for various reasons. In Pissurlem it was because of refusal of additional bucket of water that a villager Pandurang Porob was attacked by Chopper and causing injuries to his legs. Pissurlem is totally at the mercy of mining companies to supply them with water after village wells, springs, natural tanks, and ponds are rendered dry by unsustainable open cast iron and manganese mining carried on by at least 5 mining companies.

Another villager Hanumant Porob was arrested and imprisoned for protesting against mining silt in the village agricultural fields that once prided itself being highest yield giver in the Sattari taluka. Mining companies have not yielded to the demands of the Pissurlem villagers are compelled to get into mining trucks business themselves. There cannot be any greater tragedy than this one unfolding in Pissurlem.

Colamb village in Sanguem taluka is blessed with people who refused to barter their land for money offered by mining companies. As a result there has been number of protests against the mining companies. Number of times Police force is pitted against them and arrests are effected. There are at least half a dozen charge sheets filed against Colamb villagers in various combinations and they now has to regularly report themselves to the Courts in Quepem and Sanguem towns. People from various other parts of Goa – including those from Goa Bachao Abhiyan (GBA), Ganv Ghor Rakhan Manch (GGRM), and Nature, Environment, Society and Transformations (NEST) has also regularly visited and offered solidarity to the Colamb villagers. Gawda, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar Federation (GAKUVED) played important role to support Colamb villagers from 2007 till date and helped to make it State level issue through the morcha it organized on December 10, 2007 Human Rights Day in Quepem. Brother Philip Neri de Souza has played very crucial role in Colamb resistance from 2001 upto 2007. Colamb villagers due to their resolute decision to oppose mining were even threatened with ‘Tadi par’ by then Police Inspector at Quepem Police Station Santosh Desai. ‘Tadi par’ sentence is meant to prohibit the villagers from entering into the administrative jurisdictions of South Goa.

On one occasion nearly ten people from Colamb protesting against mining were arrested, criminally charged and photographed at Quepem Police Station with slates around their necks. This is a practice used on hard core criminals. Industry-Police nexus in this manner sort to de-legitimize and criminalize the protests against mining industry in Goa.

Uncompromising stand of Colamb villagers against mining industry attracted higher level of collusion between Fomento mining company and the Leader of the Opposition Manohar Parrikar and in June 2008 People of Colamb along with author of this article was tagged as Naxalite in the Goa assembly. This however instead of daunting the spirit of the protest of the Colamb villagers further widened across the State of Goa. The jam packed meeting on 23 June 2008 at T.B.Cunha hall, Panjim will be remembered in the books of history as creating a wave of second liberation of Goa from the mining industry.

After this attempt of the mining industry was foiled Fomento filed defamation suit against the author of this article for Rs 500 crore in Calcutta High Court stating that the company is has suffered losses in business after some customers read the blog and terminated their contracts to buy ore from Fomentos. This scare tactic again failed as the rising public opinion against mining industry further popularized the online writings of this author.

Dora de Souza, a woman aged 80 plus chained herself to the mine operated by Dinar Tarcar in Maina, Quepem in October 2009. She along with 7 others were arrested – four were beaten up by mining company’s goons led by Subhas Phaldesai, then Balli South Goa Zilla Parishad member- criminal cases filed and imprisoned for two days.

Motes Antao from Colamb has been arrested number of times. One month ago he was arrested by Goa Police stationed at Quepem Police Station because he filed application under Right to Information Act 2005 asking the detail information on assets held mining trucks owned by police officials including PI Santos Desai who is currently posted at Margao Police Station. Motes was called at the police station under the pretext of collecting information sought under RTI and detained over some case the Fomento mines manager in Colamb had filed against him ten months earlier.

Lawyer John Fernandes was charged for attempt to murder during a lathi charge on villagers of Ambaulim, Quepem in December 2008. Several people were injured during the lathi charge on villagers that were protesting against dust pollution caused in their village by mining trucks. Several people were arrested and criminally charged. PI Santosh Desai led the Lathi charge on protestors. Advocate Fernandes was again physically abused by the agents of the mining companies in 2010. It here that public organized around Adv. Fernandes and staged one day hunger strike in front of Quepem police station forcing the police authorizes to criminally book the assaulters.

Determination of Colamb villagers infused courage to number of other villagers affected by mining industry. Advalpal in Bicholim revolted in May 2008 in spite of earlier compromises with the mining companies. Over 70 people were arrested and criminally charged. Akash Naik, a nine-year-old school boy supported by Goa Foundation in September 2009 got a stay order from Goa bench of Bombay High Court against marauding Sesa Goa mine owned by British corporate Vedanta listed on London stock exchange. The litigation is currently going on in the Court.

Sirgao villagers in Bicholim taluka revolted against this 40 year old industry in village and filed Public Interest Litigation in Goa bench of Bombay High Court. High Court appointed Nagpur based National Environmental Engineering Institute (NEERI) to conduct a scientific study. NEERI report submitted to the Court stated that agriculture and water bodies are negatively affected by three open cast mines operating in Sirgao village. NEERI in another case in the Goa Bench of Bombay High Court submitted a report that June 2009 floods in Advalpal was caused due to mining activities in the village. The case is currently on.

Wide spread nature of protests against mining has led to the emergence of coalition of mining affected villages in August 2008. It is known as Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP). GOAMAP has raised the issue of mining destroying Goa’s ecology and livelihoods at number of forum. On September 22, it raised the issue with banks financing Vedanta mining company at a meeting organized by Bank Track from Netherlands and Urgewald from Germany held at Amnesty International Headquarters in London.

Large number of People across the board has lent their voice and support the movement to defend Goa from being swallowed by mining industry. They are artists, teachers, writers, professionals, People in Media they have done it in the way of their own. Few deserve special mention Kurush Canteenwala who was prison colleague of this author at Margao Judicial Custody in October 2008 has made a video documentary on Goa’s mining struggles titled – ‘Goa Goa Gone’. We both were assaulted in Maina while filming protests led by 82 year old Dora de Souza accompanied by her daughter Cheryl de Souza Sanfransisco and other supporters including Fr. Mathias D’Cunha. Police force led by PI Santos Desai colluded with the mining company goons and merely watch protestors being beaten up. He then arrested and criminally charged the protestors and did nothing of those who were involved in the attack though he was a personal witness. Present on the occasion Kurush made an impressive documentary “Goa Goa Gone”and 30th October 2009 it won national award for best Environmental documentary at Vatavaran Film Festival organized by Centre for Media Studies in Delhi. It is Indian Nation lending its voice to rising wave of voices against mining industry in Goa. This documentary was used to create awareness of public in Goa since the time of its release and later further up gradation.

Ramesh Gauns, a teacher from Bicholim has successfully blocked commissioning of Zantye’s iron Ore mine at a village where he has been teaching for the past over two decades – Sarvona in Bicholim taluka. He used agitation modes as well as judiciary to his advantage. Particularly important is the use of Right to Information Act 2005 to get hold of key documents of the mining industry.

Claude Alvares and Norma Alvares have rendered huge service to the State of Goa. This Alvares couple has several occasions successfully used judiciary against mining industry. Latest has been thwarting attempts by mining industry to mine Goa’s Wildlife Sanctuaries. There other cases such as on dust pollution that is aided by Goa Foundation in litigation stage.

Sangamitra Mainkar, Prabhakar Dhage, Carmen Miranda, Wendell Rodricks, Maria Aurora Couto, Venita Coelho, Hartman de Souza, Advocate Ritwick Dutta are other notable people that has lent their valued loud voices to the protests against mining in Goa. Trade Unionist Christopher Fonseca of AITUC in Television interview in June 2009 referred to the protest movements against mining as “Prophetic Voices and Goa is lucky to have them.” CITU workers union has also initiated dialogue with the people protesting against mining in Goa. Overall there is growing consensus that in the long term interest of Goa mining industry in Goa has to be shut down. Voice of protest against mining industry can be heard from Colamb to Sirgao, Nuem-Khola to Advalpal, and Bicholim to Usgao. This is a beginning of change in power relations and power structure in the State of Goa. Goenchea xetkaracho Ekvot (GXE) got into working alliance with Goa Federation of Mines Affected People (GOAMAP) in January 2010 and since have been working in coordination with each other. One of the fruits of this collaboration has been bus trips to Goa’s mining belt that took people on tour to mining areas from April to June 2010 on every Sunday. This helped to further broadening the contours of ecology movement in Goa by letting first hand exposure to people from various walks of lives who otherwise seldom visit mining areas, to see the mining reality of Goa.

In February 2010 Union Minister of Environment and Forest put a moratorium for any further mining in Goa till comprehensive cumulative EIA is undertaken some agency like NEERI, Nagpur. This has been perceived as a direct result of the campaign against the mining industry in Goa and the ability it has acquired to influence policy maker s of the country.

Delhi High Court has truck down nearly three environmental clearances given by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) largely due to the effective coordination between the protestors in Goa and lawyers in Delhi. Appellate authority too has struck of Pirla mine in south Goa after sending its judge on site visit to Goa.

MoEF through its regional office based in Bangalore has initiated direct discussions on mining with the protestors, government officials, and the mining companies in 2010. First round of discussion took place in February and the second round in May. This if nothing has bestowed certain amount of official legitimacy by official agencies. It is called a round table on sustainable mining, the first of its kind in India. Although there is hardly any possibility of sustainable mining it is looked upon as a very important occasion to further that agenda of the protest movement that has found base in middle classes of Goa and people of Goa settled abroad.

Media in Goa took a u-turn on mining from 2008 onwards and there is increased coverage for mining issues in Goa. This was possible largely by lobbying of activists with media and dramatic naming of blog[2] dealing with mining and tribal issues in Goa as promoter of naxalite ideology in Goa Assembly by the leader of opposition Manohar Parrikar. Media attention to mining issues since then has never waned away. The use of internet played two important roles. First to make the issue of mining internationally know and get people from all over the world interested in mining issue. There was an advantage particularly Goa being well known tourism destination. Predictable it attracted outstation media and researchers to cover mining issues in Goa. Secondly, it bestowed freedom from censorship by vested interests that act as gatekeepers of information. Even though things remained less in terms of its reach, blog served as reference point for important resources on mining and land movements in Goa. Internet came particularly handy while dealing with police repression on villagers in various parts of the State in demanding their release. Messages were sent on mailing lists particularly on Goanet that has subscription of over 30,000 people across the globe. Publishing of photos of environmental destruction caused due to mining companies online and companies involved named. This led to increasing discomfort of mining companies with the protestors and increasing public support for the bold online exposures. The fear of mining industry that lasted in Goa for half a decade began to evaporate gradually from the 2007 onwards when GAKUVED marched on the streets of Quepem on 10 December 2010. Within next few days couple of mines were attacked by the villagers and forced to shut down.

There is also wide ranging on ground collaboration with various activists formations dealing with wide range of issue towards evolving a strategy of coordination of politics between the coast and the hinterland. This has helped in filling up loose ends providing necessary input to tackle wide range of challenges.


Protest against mining in Goa is modeled on decentralized, absence of any single command structure. Multiple critical agencies are working against mining to suit their priorities without any kind of coercion on any one. People that are involved are because they are convinced about the issues involved. Each group formations retain their own autonomy in decision making. NGOs, grassroots groups, support groups, teachers, intellectuals, media are playing their own role after self realization. Anti-mining movement has acquired necessary potency to attract newer people into its fold and sustain those already involved with new challenges. Amongst the new challenges before the ecology movements in Goa is to devise strategies formulate concepts that would facilitate transformation of the current upheaval into political power that would rise up from below and penetrate effectively in the process of governance. This needs to be achieved by defining and re-defining the relationships with political parties and understanding system of governance in place. If the movements in Goa are able to make headway in this direction then it would certainly be new leap for movement, new leap for Goa.

Note: This paper is presented at the consultation on ‘optimizing biodiversity and social security in mining areas: an earthy vision’ organized by Balipara Tract and Frontier Foundation, supported by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Development Alvernatives in Pune on 30th September 2010.

[1] Environment Impact Assessment