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Fomentos flexes State power to bulldoze livelihoods with its mines in Sanguem

Posted by sebydesiolim on Thu 18 of Oct, 2007 16:08 IST

October 18, 2007

Hello!

Here are the minutes of a meeting called by Quepem Sub-divisional Magistrate to clear way for the Fomento mining group that operates mine in Colamb, Sanguem. This meeting gains significance as it demonstrates the power of the corporate to flex and get into motion the State administration for its private interest of mining of ore and gaining huge profits. Mining companies have been doing this over the past five decades and this is one more example as to demonstrate how deep is our quasi-judicial, judicial, executive, police, are co-opted and hell bent on destroying people’s livelihood of agriculture, destroy forests, convert forest areas into rice plantations and then use the forest lands as mining dumps, pollute and suck dry our natural water sources, silt flowing water bodies, mobilize scientific opinions and manufacture reports to repeat the story of three wise monkeys to say ‘here no truth, speak no truth and see no truth’, mining companies are the truth.

Magistrate discloses that he has powers only as far as maintaining law and order yet he goes on does something more suggests formation of CORE Committee that would composed of government representatives and three members vetted by the Rivona Panchayat whose elected members have deep rooted interests in the continuation mining and whole scale ruining of agriculture.

The government scientists that gave clean cheat to SDM are indeed an object of ridicule and betray even the common sense. Of course it is a common knowledge that scientists are rarely stick to their ethics and more often than not have betrayed the very people who through their taxes pays their salaries and these scientist have been indulging in complete unethical practices. They have done again while choosing soil samples and its testing.

One lawyer representing mining companies is quoted in the minutes as proudly declaring that mining lease has not been challenged for the past 5 decades. Perhaps as practice goes lawyers take the side of one who pays them; he shrewdly overlooks the facts that the lease was granted by the erstwhile Portuguese colonial State, and by overlooking this fact he shamefully celebrates imperialism. And why he should not all the mining companies have accumulated the huge surplus to divert their profits in wide range of business ventures including Cidade de Goa thanks to this mischief during the Portuguese Colonial era. He also overlooks the fact that judiciary has been dominated by the interests hostile to the people at the receiving end of mining tyranny. The demand for stopping of mines in Goa will not succeed in the Palaces that are full of scandals but this demand will succeed when discussed and debated in the people’s parliament – the streets where the affected people themselves are going to be the judges and not the professional lawyers that are sucking their clients at a mass scale. Our judiciary is blood sucking institution meant to tire out generate and intensify injustice through the rule of law that is also rule of the rich for the rich. The law is conceptualized, drafted, executed by the powerful sections of the society that does not what the sufferings are all about. The laws are formulated to further disempower common people and snatch their livelihoods and mining laws, Forest laws, pollution laws in Goa and India are excellent examples to this.

Through this order Fomentos have mobilized State coercive agency – the Police who are also paid by the public exchequer to arrests, harass and inflict innumerable repressive measures as it has been happening in Colamb, Sanguem for those villagers protesting against mining companies.

Of course SDM considers minerals as national wealth and it cannot be stopped from exploitation. But nowhere he mentions and take note about the fact that people’s houses have developed crack not only due to rippers but also though blasting carried out by the Fomentos. Devki Katu Velip’s residence is an example to this. Why overlook? Nowhere he has developed understanding of the scenario as to what is going to happen to this village of Colamb if mining leases get activated? What will be the remains of the village that has total area 1929 hectares and out of which 1524 hectares are under mining leases? And not the SDM knows about from the remainder how much land is forest land under the control of the Forest department that operates in tyrannical fashion chiefly because it behaves as lackey of the forest department to make more land available to mining industry? It is indeed strange that what is common knowledge does not reach the ears of the SDM. We can only guess why! These valuable aspects he missed out completely before designing his methodology. His methodology is designed to wipe the tears of the crying children. It pays lip service towards any genuine attempts to find out the root cause of the pain that releases tears from the farmers eyes. The situation is serious, if people don’t have space to cultivate paddy then very soon they have to adopt going hungry or eating mining silt. Or become laborers on mines and depend at the mercy of the mining company for their livelihood. SDM order has given the stamp of legitimacy to the mining loot in a fantastic theatrics’ style: mining company will continue its loot caring dam for all the dissent in the world and State is going to supplement mining company with additional police re-enforcements whenever necessary. Already police have filed cases against the villagers and some have even been arrested. Worse Police goes on random picking of the villagers take them to Police station for harassment purpose. Egypt Dias and Manuel Dias were picked up in this fashion on October 14, 2007. Rama Velip and Motesh Antao were also targeted by Police earlier through arrests.

It was surprising that SDM had no means of verifying as to who tarred the road under reference. His analysis relies upon assumptive word ‘Perhaps’. This is speculation and not analysis. And subsequently your conclusions are erroneous to the core. Colamb struggling People have got nothing to do with law and order problem. They are acting in collective defense of their agriculture from mining invasion backed by State power. It is mining company that is creating law and order problem. It is mining company that is snatching the peoples’ means of livelihood by various means including co-ersion.

And these affected villagers are declared as Scheduled Tribes and this is chosen reward from the mining industry-State nexus. I understand the phrase ‘Private-Public Participation’ meaning of ‘Private’ in SDMs opinion as Fomento mining group. I failed to understand the meaning of ‘Public’ is. Does that mean participative and joyful tolerance of nuisance of Fomentos though its mining mischief? Or does ‘Public’ means likes of the SDM, Police, Water Resource Department Officials, Forest Department officials, Mining Department officials, and the like ‘Public’ officials? It would be nice if SDM clarifies what if the composition of the word ‘Public’ in participation is.

The compensation as way of compromise is not workable at all. Rs.400/- per month per person that Fomentos have been going about making agreements is a nasty fraud on the lives of the common people that will have consequences of its own. This of course is not mentioned in the minutes but derived logically from the utterances of the lawyer that majority of people supports mining in Colamb, Sanguem. In any case compensation is like ‘I give you one slap and then pay Rs.10/- and logically I can give you any amount of slaps and go on paying proportionately.’ I go on doing this because I have money to do so. Subsequently if I have to go on leaving I have to go on taking selling myself for more and more slaps, my hands are now accustomed to taking slaps and more slaps and more importantly I can not do without slaps. For I have no land left to cultivate. This is an ideology of compensation.

Again mining company manager pulled smart one over the shoulders of SDM or rather that’s how the whole show was organized; mining manager is quoted as saying that they have taken precautions against wash over of mining silt into the nallah and they subsequent preventions of washing the same into agricultural lands. Of course this is bullshit. And do note the hilarious explanation of executive engineer who is also canal officer. According his logic there could be not siltation of Paddy fields till the nallah – flowing fresh water body is complexly buried with silt and silt them will have to overflow and find its way into agricultural lands. Of course he dished out the logic and scenario as desired by his bosses in the fomento mining company. There are plenty of officers like him who have sold their ethics for a brief case or two. Other wise you as members of public go and inspect the paddy field, meet up the affected people yourself and arrive at your own conclusions and your conclusions. If you have not taken briefcases from Fomentos will be opposite to the conclusion in this report. However he admitted that there is already siltation caused and he does not talk of it irreversible impacts on ecology.

The geologist at the mining department who was also present at this meeting agrees with me that his department is impotent to discipline mining companies as the companies over the period of time have become the Princes of Goa through 5 decades of loot and have enormous power at all level of Judiciary, Legislature and Executive. With mining loot going at this scale there is hardly any hope of preserving Goa’s identity as its majestic Western Ghats Mountains are slaughtered daily. It is only struggling people like that of Colamb that can contribute towards creating new identity for Goa in the face of State – Corporate nefarious nexus in place. These minutes are shining example of the way this nexus is operating inside the veins of Goa.

Sebastian Rodrigues

MINUTES OF THE MEETING CONVENED BY THE SUB DIVISIONAL MAGISTRATE (SDM) OF QUEPEM SUB-DIVISION QUEPEM GOA ON 13/10/2007 TO TAKE STOCK OF THE LAW & ORDER PROBLEM PERTAINING TO OPERATION OF MINE BY HIRALAL KHODIDAS & COMPANY PRESENTLY OPERATED BY FOMENTO MINING GROUP

The following members were for the meeting

1. Shri Parag Nagarssekar, Mamlatdar of Sanguem. 2. Shri Sudin Natu, Mamlatdar of Quepem 3. Shri Hector Fernandes, Asstt. Geologist, Director of Mines & Geology, Panaji 4. Shri S.M. Rangaraju, Exe. Engineer, Water Resource Department (WRD) 5. Shri Paily P., A.E. Water Resource Department 6. Shri B.S. Prabhu, Zonal Agriculture Officer(ZAO), Sanguem 7. Shri P.B.Shirvoikar, Police Inspector(PI), Quepem Police Station 8. Shri Gajanan Harihar Karkare, Sr. Manager 9. Shri Atul V. Makode, Mines Manager 10. Shri P.T. Naidu 11. Shri Vijay D. Kerker 12. Shri Gokuldas K Naik 13. Shri Sandeep Gaonkar 14. Shri V.K. Prabhu Dessai 15. Shri Rama L. Velip 16. Shri Egypt D’Souza? 17. Shri Telu Dias 18. Shri Rajanikant Velip 19. Shri Ramchandra Velip 20. Shri Sebastiao D’Souza? 21. Shri Ajai N. Naik 22. Shri Gaurish Naik

At the outset the SDM Quepem welcomed the gathering & disclosed that the meeting was convened in order to tackle the law and order problem which has been constantly taking place at the site of the operation of mine by Hiralal Khodidas & company which is presently operated by Fomento Mining Group. The main issue which the villagers were concerned of is about adjoining nallah which is passing on the peripheri of the mining activity & secondly about the run-offs of the mines getting accumulated in the adjoining agricultural lands.

The villager named Rama Ladu Velip addressed to say that the sludge of the mine is affecting the paddy fields and the lands which are being cultivated by the Schedule Tribes is getting destroyed due to the silt. The land which is classified as forest land is also being surreptitiously utilized for mining activity & the forest resources is getting depleted day by day, has developed cracks to the households of the inhabitants who reside in the vicinity of the mining area and that the water table of the land has been substantially reduced.

Shri Venkatesh Keshav Prabhu Dessai, another villager pointed out to say that the agricultural lands in the vicinity of the mining area are giving a double yield-kharif & Rabi type due to the availability of water source from the nallah. He also stated that the plateau used for mining acts as a reservoir for harvesting water during monsoon due to its capillary action and that protective measures taken by the mining company serve no purpose and that the operation of mines be stopped.

Shri Salvador Dias, a villager submitted that the Government is encouraging agricultural activity by giving various types of subsidies, but on account of the operation of the mines the doles dished out by the Government would serve no purpose. He also stated that there would be no grazing ground left of available for the cattle and prayed that the mines be stopped from conducting any of its operation.

Shri Hector Fernanades was representing the Director of Mines & Geology. He stated that the mining concession was in existence since 1949 by the virtue of Title of Concession No.6 for Iron and Manganese. The activities were going on manually for extracting Manganese ore and since the past 18 months this activity is controlled by the Central Government and the monitoring aspect is done by the Directorate of Mines, is what Mr. Hector had to say. The approvals for the operating of mine have been given by the Indian Bereau of Mines (IBM) after studying the mining plan which is accompanied by the study of Environment Impact Assessment. The concerns of the environment are looked after and taken care of by the IBM. The environment clearance of the present mine was given bye the Ministry of Environment and Forest on 12/3/2007 and is valid till date. Mr. Fernandes also stated that the area of lease given to the mine is 70,1870 sq.mts and he feigned ignorance as private forest. The usage of machinery on the mines is also subject to the Mines Safety Act is what Mr. Hector had to say

The Executive Engineer Mr. Ranga Raju who is also a canal Officer attached the Water Resources Department was present and he placed on record the series of reports which he has made from time to time alongwith photographical evidence of the nallah. The said correspondence and measures suggested by the canal Officer the average depth of the nallah is 2 mts. He submitted that only when the nallah is completely filled with silt, than and only than it would start overflowing and accumulating in the properties. He stated that due to precautionary measures adopted by the mining firm, the silt accumulated in the nallah is less for which measures could be taken for desiltation. He also submitted that the various barriers put across by the mining firm arrests the sludege/run-offs to a great extent.

According to the Zonal agricultural Officer Shri Babal S. Prabhu, he stated that the only if the nallah is completely filled up than only the damage would start accruing in the paddy fields. He also pointed out to his report submitted to the collector in April 2007, whereby he has highlighted the ill effects that would plague the agricultural sector in the years to come.

The representative of the mining company i.e. the Senior Manager Mines Shri Gajanand karkare submitted that all precautionary measures have been adhered to by the firm as per the directions given by the Chief Secretary of Goa. He also submitted that the mining company is always open for suggestions which are constructive in nature and that the activities carried out are legal in nature.

Adv. Hemkant Bhangui, pointed out to say that out of entire village only a handful villagers were opposed towards the project and a majority of them ar for it. He stated to say that the nallah is clear from all respect and the activity cannot be halted inspite of having valid legal permissions. He also stressed on the report of EIA which was banked upon by the Indian bureau of Mines whilst granting the permission. He also pointed out to say that when the mining concession has not been challenged since the past 5 decades, the question of stopping any activity of mining does not arise.

Some truck owners from the locality namely Shri Suryakant Naik and Shashikant Devidas submitted that the activity should be permitted for the employment and for doing ancillary business activities connected with mining.

A person named Arun Vijay Madgaonkar who is a resident of Marcel, khandola under the banner of Gram Vikas Kendra spoke on the ill-effects of mining activities ranging from the issues of water depletion to overloading of trucks. He also stated that the mining companies have not adhered to the norms laid to re-do the earth and bring it back to its original position by planting of trees. He also raised apprehensions and concerns for the village of Rivona, Colomba and surrounding areas by bringing it to the fore that some two more mining companies are likely to surface in the locality, which according to him would add more misery than any good to the local populace.

Another person by name of Shri Narayan Colambkar stated that the road which is presently used by the mining firm is his personal private land and he stated that the road cannot be put to use for mining operations.

BRIEF ANALYSIS

After hearing all the parties present i.e. the various agencies of the Government, the agitators and the representatives of the mining firm. It has been made crystal clear to one and all, that the jurisdictional limits of the SDM are minimal and that it is not clothed with powers to order stoppage of the mining activity considering the valid permissions which the mining firm has with them. Although the agitators have raised a cloud of suspicion in their minds about the grant of permissions, as an SDM, the office cannot go into the merits of each and every permission granted to the firm.

All what the SDM would want is maintenance of peace and tranquility in the society and if there is any contravention on this count, than the SDM would have to step in and take adequate measures to maintain the peace and tranquility. On the personal visit and inspection of the mining area on 9/10/2007 the SDM had collected soil samples for testing from two different sites i.e. one from the area which was alleged to have deposits of mining silts. The soil testing was carried out by the South Goa Branch of Agriculture Department and the reports which arrived today disclosed that both the soils had similar readings, which means to say that the fertility count of the soil has not been disturbed. The report too was tabled today for scrutiny before the meeting. So also the personal Inspection of nallah did not show the SDM the presence of alluvial deposits from the mines.

The core issue being that of deposits in the nallah and damage to agricultural lands has been properly answered by the Canal officer and the report of soil testing by the Agricultural Department.

As regards the Issue of road, although a hue and cry has been raised by the alleged property owner, this office opines that for all purposes the said road has to be treated as a public road. The road is pucca in nature and perhaps the PWD or the local authority must have tarred the same. Considering the fact of monies being pumped in for construction of the road from the exchequer, preferential right of use of the road would obviously be for the public and hence it is deemed to be considered as public road. However, if Shri Colombkar has a better title over the said road to the mines, he is at liberty to knock the doors of the forum having Civil jurisdiction. Preventing usage of the said road by using muscle power or by illegally blocking the same through other means is not a healthy sign and no law of the land would permit any person to do such and act.

METHODOLOGY TO ADOPT PREVENTIVE MEASURES TO CURB ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION

Degradation of Environment especially due to mining has been an issue which has from time to time being raised before for various reasons including in the Honourable High Court and Honourable Supreme Court. On every given occasion it has been a practice to issue directives to prevent environmental degradation as mining reserves cannot be stopped from being explored and exploited as it is part and parcel of national wealth.

Public Private Participation (PPP) is the need of the hour to bring about transparency in the adoption of preventive measures to curb environmental degradation. This proposal was put forth to the public which has been readily accepted, the committee members shall visit mining area every month and suggest measures from time to time. The committee should chalk out its own programme of field visit preferably in the first week of every month and within the first ten days of every month should submit a report to the mining firm and the collector(s) with a copy endorsed to the SDM of the Sub Division of Quepem. The mining firm should adopt the preventive measures in the same month itself and when the Committee members pay their field visit in the ensuing month they should assess the measures so adopted by the firm.

In the set up of PPP the degradation of environment which is at its optimum would get reduced to great extent and finally there would be a day where there would be zero tolerance to environmental degradation.

At any given time, if there are any deposits in the nallah the mining company should bear the total cost of desiltation by taking the technical know-how from the Canal Officer.

The run-offs from the mine in the agricultural properties could also be properly channelised through the tailing ponds by way of which the paddy field would not get destroyed.

The committee should comprise of three villagers the names of which has to be vetted by the Village Panchayat of Rivaona, the Mines Manager & Mining Engineer, Officials from each departments i.e. The Zonal Agricultural Office, Forest Department, Directorate of Mines and Canal Officer from WRD.

CONCLUSION

Under the above premises which has been espoused in the methodology part, the SDM called upon the parties present to maintain peace, tranquility and decorum and if need be to knock the doors of the appropriate forum to stop the operations of the mines, if they are insisting on the same. The SDM also called upon the gathering that the mines would start operating from 15/10/2007 and if there is any law and order problems than action would be initiated against them as per the law in force. The meeting thereafter ended with these directives.

Sd/- on 13/10/2007 (Johnson Bedy Fernandes) Deputy Collector & S.D.M., Quepem – Goa.

C.C. For Information to: 1. The Collector and District Magistrate (S), Margao-Goa?, with a request to kindly initiate steps to form a core committee as espoused in the methodology part of the minutes drawn and forwarded herein.


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Solidarity with Kujanga People’s Movement against POSCO invasion of Orissa‏

Posted by sebydesiolim on Thu 18 of Oct, 2007 15:57 IST

15th October 2007

Just yesterday newspapers in India carried news item - some on the front page about abduction of South Korean company Pohang Steel Company (POSCO) in Orissa that is seeking to invest single largest foreign direct investments (FDI) in India at Rs.54,000 crores. The abductions that took place included that of the Managing director, a Korean national, another Korean official of the company and the Indian hired by the foreign firm, on 13th October 2007. It was however not the first time the abductions taking place. In April 2007 too POSCO officials were abducted and released.

I was part of the group put together by The Other Media, New Delhi to visit Dinkiya village – one of the richest villages of Orissa and now target of the POSCO investments - and have first hand exposure to investments that threaten to trample Peoples rights. Here are some of my observations after interacting with POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) Chairman Abhai Sahu on 28th September 2007.

MoU

POSCO and Orissa government signed Memorandum of Understanding to this project near Paradeep Port on 22nd November 2005. Soon the protests began in the form Court arrests, awareness campaigns in the three villages that are likely to get wiped off in the project comes through – Dhinkia, Nuaga and Godokujong Panchayats. The MoU is for setting up of Steel plant and construction of captive port for the company 7 kilometers away from the Paradeep Port at the Zatadhar Sea bed covering 519 acres of space.

Government is trying to hand over nearly 500 acres of legally government land to the Korean transnational corporation for the purpose of its project. This land originally b belonged to the people who cultivate but thanks to the process of state formations it was transferred to king Vardhaman from West Bengal who in turned leased it out to the private parties, and ultimately Indira Gandhi government nationalized these land in the mid of 1970s decade.

PPSS ground of Objections

PPSS objects to the projects on many grounds: Firstly, it is opposed to Industrialization at the cost established agricultural economy. Any attempts to do this will be opposed. Secondly, it is opposed to location of Industry at the dense forest area. The POSCO plant is capital intensive and not labour intensive. The current beetle nut cultivation in the village creates employment not only to the villagers but also for those in the neighboring villages ranging from 9-90 in age. Its existing agrarian economy is employment generating industry that POSCO is hardly a match. Poorest family in these villages is the one earns Rs.10,000/- per month!

Its beetle nut leaves are not only through out India but also exported to Middle East Asia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This conducive natural atmosphere is what is needed for this cultivation is prevailing in this Kujanga region of Jagansinghpur district of Orissa. In the face of such a prosperous local economy with global ties one questions the logic of getting POSCO to invest here. Cashew, coconut, Pisciculture is economies of these villages under people’s control.

Rights violations

There have been several instances of terror unleashed due to opposition to the POSCO project. Police, Company officials have created nexus to administer repressive measures. Bombings were carried on at check gates created by the PPSS, beating up of the people opposed to the project, and of course, the unleashing of goodas on the protestors. For nearly two weeks villagers were not a District collector suspended the supply of control commodities and the Old age pensions to the villages protesting the project! Once the suspension was revoked after the press and public opinion turned against the State, villagers were denied access on the public roads by the hired goons of the Korean corporate. It was only when the villagers showed unity and counter attacked the goons that they were able to reclaim the right over the public road. Nearly 130 criminal cases have been registered against the members of the PPSS that includes its Chairman Abhai Sahoo and its secretary Sisir Mahapatra.

Spirited Protests

However police have not been able to affect the arrests because the villagers have organized themselves and blocked all the roads to their villages. Check gates are created, 24 hours patrolling is carried on, every vehicle passing into the village is checked, interrogated and if it belonged to the State government or to the POSCO company is denied entry to the village. Daily meetings of the villagers and those offering solidarity are held near the Dinkiya village market and well attended and addressed by Women many of them from tribal groups. The road blockades according to PPSS will continue till POSCO lays its hands off their villages. The protests are likely to be intensified further as other Corporate in the State are putting Orissa government under pressure to invoke repression and hand over the necessary land to POSCO. The movements in Orissa of course has Kalinganagar massacre as backgrounder – a symbol of anti-corporate movement of common People of India.

Land titles

It is very important for the movement while continue to fight POSCO also gradually take up the question of land tittles. While it is advantageous on the one hand that the land under dispute is government lands, on the other hands villagers legally are illegal occupants of the lands. The possibilities must be worked out to get the land titles in the name Peoples’ organization and no longer it must be let alone as government lands. It requires deeper reflections as how to achieve this in the months ahead – once POSCO goes away abandoning their project.

Appeal for Solidarity

Do get in touch with the movements in Orissa and offer your solidarity. You may also inquire about the kind of solidarity required. You may contact Abhai Sahoo at his mobile no. 09938425210, e-mail: . You may also contact Nikunj Bhai at his mobile 09937364401, email: .

Sebastian Rodrigues


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Indian Environment and Forest Ministry betrays Sarwan, Goa

Posted by sebydesiolim on Tue 28 of Aug, 2007 20:56 IST

Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) over ruled all the objections of the Sarvan villagers and gave green signal for starting of mining legally to Goa bussiness group of Zatye but actually to be operated by on Trimurthy. It is 72 hactares Sarwan Iron Ore and Manganese Ore Mine.

Villagers and People concerned about Environment have been protesting the commisioning of mine at Sarwan for past few years. Last August 05 2007 core area - survey number 64 of T.C. No. 28/1953 - of mining went under the flooded Bicholim River. Here is the picture taken then:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=28 (external link)

Environment ministry in its decision dated 21 August 2007 granted permission to M/s Zatye & Company Pvt. Ltd the necssarry environment clearance for commisining of mine under the condition that keeps safety zone of 50 meters between mine working and the Bicholim river. The travesty of truth is that thare is no 50 meter distance between the border as visible in the above picture and the Bicholim river.

This mine is proposed to be commisioned at the capital cost of Rs.278 lakh and will generate the waste of 13.1 million tonnes out of which 10 million will be dumped on the land in the form of overburden and the rest will be dumped inside the mining pit.

The clearance to the Sarvan mine also mean 40 houses with about 100 Sarwan villagers living adjacent to the mining lease land of survey number 99 in survey number 102 will have to get out soon if they decide to accept the verdict of MoEF.

MoEF is satisfied with its investigations and found that this mine was in operation during Portuguese colonial times in mid 1950s. Half a century later Indian government thinks it fit to revive the same - thus perpetualte the neo colonial legacy.

In early 2007 villagers came out the street of Bicholim to protest the mining proposal. Here is the picture a protestor:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=34 (external link)

Soon the public hearing was held wherein the mining proposal was vehemently opposed. Here is the picture of gathering at Public hearing:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=35 (external link)

MoEF gave permision for mining in not only roughriding Peoples opposition for mining but also neglecting topographic evidence of forest existing the mining lease area. Here is the picture of Sarvan's fragile Forest:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=36 (external link)

There is also very important underground Cave network in the proposed Sarwan mine area jurisdiction. This is going to be completely lost forever to the planet:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=37 (external link)

Proposed Zatye mining site in Sarvan also has an old temple - a place of worship on the banks. It is a rich human heritage to be lost due to mining. See the beauty for yourself:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=38 (external link)

Hoticulture in the form of 'Kulagars' here fetch Rs. 1 crore to the Sarvan village. It has well developed irrigation networks. Have a look at this irrigation for cultivation:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=39 (external link)

In the hottest months in Goa temperature in this forest does ranges between 15 degrees to 28 degree. It is forest with wild flowers. Here is picture:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=40 (external link)

Cattles too come here to cool themselves in fresh water. Here they are relaxing:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=41 (external link)

Do you think mining should come up in Sarvan? Dont's we rob our future generations of somethings valuable? What answer do we have to offer when he will ask us 'Why din't you protect our mountains?' Do we have a courage to look at his face:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=42 (external link)

Sarwan forest will loose Forest, Villages of Sarvan and Vattadev, Will deposit huge silt in Bicholim river, will throughly disturb catchment area of Bicholim river which is an important tributories of Mandovi river.

Do ponder. Think. Then write your protests to the MoEF officials in Delhi at their email

The ministery can be contacted on

The Secretary Government of India Ministry of Environment & Forests Paryavaran Bhavan CGO Complex, Lodhi Road New Delhi - 110 003. (INDIA).

Telephone:+91-11-2436 1896,24360605,24360570,24360519 email:

Express yourself loud till your voice is heard by those in power.

Sebastian Rodrigues


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Dempo mining ruins Mulgao lakes in Bicholim

Posted by sebydesiolim on Tue 28 of Aug, 2007 12:35 IST

All three lakes of Mulago supplying water to horticulture 'Kulagar' as well and paddy cultivation is polluted with mining silt from Dempo Mining Corporation operated mines.

Here are pictures taken on August 12, 2007 for you; this one is what Dempo mining corporations tom toms on its website as its commitment for Environment as well as claims it supplies drinking water from this lake to the Mulgao villagers. See how dirty it looks and you can guess if this water can be used for drinking purpose by humans:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=29 (external link)

The mining activities are very close to Mulgao lake; in fact you can see mining in the background of the lake in this picture:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=30 (external link)

Dempo's mining silt has washed into Mulgao's second lake 'Pattalle Tollem':

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=31 (external link)

Mulgao's third lake 'Hagrem Tollem' used to supply was water for Paddy cultivation. Due to Dempo mining it has aquired the colour of mining silt. Have a look at this picture:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=32 (external link)

This man is from Mulgao and witnessed ruin of his village due to Dempo mining:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=33 (external link)

Mulgao is one more village robbed off its water, economy, ecology, agriculture and prosperity based on food security and self sufficiency. How many more villages are to be ruined this way in Goa by mining companies?

Sebastian Rodrigues


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Dempos dries up Sivsorem water wells

Posted by sebydesiolim on Sun 26 of Aug, 2007 20:06 IST

Dempo mining corporation with its mining has created acute water water shorages for villagers of Sivsorem in Sanguem. Its mine in the village has dried up all the well of the village. though officially mining department poits out that Sivsorem mine is closed, villagers say that mine is in operation and its trucks are a marauding reality.

Here is a picture of Sivsorem mine of Dempo mining corporation:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=23 (external link)

After anticipating protests from the villagers, Dempos are working with State government to lay water pipeline from nearby Selaulim dam. Sivsorem village has been put to innumeable hardships and their agricultue is ruined. There is also tribal population in this village.

Sebastian Rodrigues


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Dempos dumps in Pilgao Khazan lands

Posted by sebydesiolim on Sun 26 of Aug, 2007 19:46 IST

Dempos could not have chosen any more ecologically sensitive place to carry on its mining dumps that it is curently doing. It chose Khazan lands - the lands reclaimed from the sea by Goa's first settlers - tribal people. Here is a picture for you:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=22 (external link)

Its Pilgao dumps are to be condemned by all people in defence of life and ecology, and asked to be removed immidiately. Though Dempos are above law in Bicholim so there is still point in demanding criminal action under section 133 Cr.PC for causing public nuisance. Police and courts are composed of citizens of India and they have constitutional duty to uphold right to life and defend environment.

Sebastian Rodrigues


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Vichundrem's stone of protest

Posted by sebydesiolim on Sun 26 of Aug, 2007 19:05 IST

Vichundrem village in Goa's Sanguem taluka has set an example of resistent to mining companies. it has successfully defended the village against the efforts of Gauns mining goup to initiate mining for the past five years. During this they faced various pressures and offers from the industry but they resisted it all. contractor Kushali Velip cleared the thick forests with his merciless falling of trees. The forest department was mere spectaor to the goings in the village. Of course mining companies surely would have have given forest officials brief cases full of cash. Mining trade in Goa operates its oiling operations brief case by brief case to help the law enforcers to soft paddle on large number of vilations by mining companies. Here is a picture of Vichundrem's stone of protest:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=18 (external link)

Vichundrem has rich agriculture that will be smashed with mining silt and their lungs with mining dust if mining raises its ugly head here. Here is a picture of Vichundrem's agriculture:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=19 (external link)

And here till few months ago stood thick forests but it has been razed to the ground to prepare for the mining trade. Have a look:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=20 (external link)

Vichundrem villagers protests are source of inspiration to all those amongst us defending forests and people from nefarious mining trade. Their stone of protest is also stone of inspiration, stone of struggle. Keep it up!

Sebastian Rodrigues


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New roads for mining inside Sanguem forests

Posted by sebydesiolim on Sun 26 of Aug, 2007 18:49 IST

Deforesations is the rule in Sanguem Forests as Forest department enters into active collaboration through its acts of ommisions and acts of commision and letting mining companies free hand towards getting forest areas for mining purpose. Our tour towards Sanguem forests brought shocking facts to the forefront. We found number of roads being demarcated by cutting down thick forests in Sanguem. This picture was taken of one those roads near Tudva village in Sanguem Taluka. Have a look:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=17 (external link)

Forest department must investigate those responsible to make roads like this inside the forest and initiate criminal proceedings against those found guilty. Other it would be interpeted that forest department is in bed with mining companies on honeymoon night. Faster it acts better it is.

Sebastian Rodrigues


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Fomentos burries forest trees alive in Sanguem

Posted by sebydesiolim on Sun 26 of Aug, 2007 18:17 IST

Fomentos mining company is engaged in burring forest trees alive by dumping mining rejects. In the past few seasons along with cutting forests the company has also been actively involved in burring the forest alive to facilitate the mining trade. Here is a picture from Colamb, Sanguem wherein Fomentos trucks are in action:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=13 (external link)

Fomentos has their ongoing mining in operation amidst protests from the villagers. Here is a picture of Fomentos mining that is leading to acute water shortage in the village. Besides, it has destroyed village agriculture. have a look at this brown crater in the middle of ever green western ghats forests:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=14 (external link)

Due to protests by the villagers transportation of Fomentos mining was paralysed. However instead of closing down its mining operations it has chosen to carry on. But instead of transporting the ore to the Arabian Sea, it just encroached upon the nearby forest lands and dumped loads of fine Iron Ore. Here is a picture:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=15 (external link)

Group of us who toured Sanguem found huge loads of Iron Ore dumps inside forests and at one spot we came across board stuck on top of tree. it say forests is some one's private property, have a look at this:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=16 (external link)

There is urgent need to pressurize the State as well mining companies to cease mining operations in Sanguem. Things are headed towards catastrophe due to mining.

Sebastian Rodrigues


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Thanks to Fomentos mines Baby sleeps in cracked house in Sanguem

Posted by sebydesiolim on Sun 26 of Aug, 2007 17:50 IST

"She is sleeping." I was told when my probing camera entered the house of Devki Katu Velip. She was refering to six month baby that survived Fomentos mining blasts few months ago in her village of Colamb in Goa's Sanguem Taluka. Devki's house however is badly damaged. It may crumble down anytime. Mining company Fomentos wants them to get out. Devki and her 27 member joint family is leaving in her Colamb residence for generations together. Fomentos have been using explosives to blow up the top soil in bid to reach to the minerals underneath at a rapid pace. For they are in the race for internationaltional market. Devki Katu Velip and her protests to the company and to the State administration have fallen on the deaf ears so far. They are facing consistent threats to their right to life and State has failed to protect them. Here are few pictures from Devki Katu Velips' residence in Colamb in Sanguem.

Here is baby that lies asleep in the cracked house. The roof of this house may give way any time. Here is a baby:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=10 (external link)

Devki Katu Velip points out to the cracks to her walls in the following picture:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=11 (external link)

Devki's house is not the only one to be exploded in mining blasts, Devdita Antao has the similar story to narrate. Their house in Colamb too is cracked with explosions in the nearby mines. here is the picture of Devdita Antao and her daughter Macline at their house in Colamb, Sanguem:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=12 (external link)

Mining in Sanguem apart from causing loss of wildlife habitat is also responsible for allround destruction of human habitat. Mining has to stop in Goa forever. People here already paid too dearly with their precious lands and now the industry is asking for their lives. time has come to say 'enough is enough'.

Sebastian Rodrigues


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When Palm leave became her weapon

Posted by sebydesiolim on Sun 26 of Aug, 2007 17:23 IST

On July 29 2007 I was in Bambolim with a camera. I was taken there by a Bambolim resident harrassed by Aldeia de Goa, corporate seeking to usurp Goa's land on Bambolim beach. Security would not let me film the razed coconut trees, vandalized fresh water tank and drinking water well, blatent CRZ violations by constructing road to the Bambolim beach, razed mountains, all taking place at stone's throw away distance from Goa's capital city of Panjim.

At that time a group of women took on the security of Aldeia de Goa. One Woman used a weapon made up of coconut palm leave, what in konkani we call 'piddo' to beat up the security personnel. It was moment of extraordinary significance. Time has down on People of Goa to defend their lives and land, if need be violently. The message from the action of this woman was indeed very clear and loud. Here is a picture I share with you all when it all happen in front of my camera, to defend freedom of speech and expression, to defend right to film:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=9 (external link)

Trends from her actions is clear indicator to the way things are going to turn in near future; for it is a battle for survival, battle for dignified living against the whims and fancies of the rich, corporates and the rubber stamp state in Goa that has forgotten to defend common people, infact state is actively turning into salesmen for Goa's land with intimate linkages with of its politicians, beurocrats, with builders, miners and mafia. Common people are headed to take up weapons even if it means as harmless as 'Piddo'.

Sebastian Rodrigues


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Sarwan village battles mining proposal in Bicholim, Goa

Posted by sebydesiolim on Sun 26 of Aug, 2007 16:31 IST

One of the most prestine villages of Goa, Sarwan in Bicholim taluka is in the middle of a battle against Zatye mining group. The village has low grade deposits of magnesium and due to demands in the internatinal market industry is lured to mine this village and its evergreen forests. Public hearing was held in the ealier part of 2007 and villagers vehemently protested. Mining industry then begun pouring cash to subdue the protests.

Sarvan village specially Vathadeo went under water on August 05 2007 when the area flooded due to heavy rains. Rapid Environment Impact Assesment carried out by Industry negected this fact in a bid to hoodwink the central government authorities but rains caought them red handed - Zatyes now has to mine flood prone area. As per the Disaster management plan prepared by the executive magistrate Bicholim, survey numbers 61 and 62 of the mining lease 28/53 remains under water. Even survey number 64 which has boundary stone adjacent to the Bicholim river banks is affected during floods.

Core area of Sarwan mining proposal for 72 hactares was under flooded Bicholim river. Here see how it looked from the boundry stone with teacher Ramesh Gauns on top of it:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=28 (external link)

Here is a picture - of Vathadeo where the Public Hearing of 24th March 2007, mandatory requerement under Environment Protection Act 1987 before commisioning any major 'developmental' projects, seen under flood waters - taken on August 05 2007.

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=5 (external link)

Earlier villagers toured the forest area selected for mining purpose and narrated their objections basically loss of their lands and cultivation spaces. Here is picture when they gathered in unity:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=6 (external link)

The forests are rich in biodiversity; it is a prime habitat of Leopard and variety of other wild life according to the villagers. Here is a veiw of Sarwan forests that is selected for sacrifice on the mining alter. Have a look at this picture:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=7 (external link)

Struggle against Zatye mines in Sarvan needs your support in whatever way possible. Goa has lost too much for mining and cannot afford to loose any more. If mining companies are let to have a field day then they will finish over 50% of Goa's georaphical surface. By the way have a look a the mining Map of Goa:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=8 (external link)

Do call few of your friends around you and start discussion as how we are to save Goa from reckless mining, loss of land, destuction of Agriculture, cutting down of forests.

Sebastian Rodrigues


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Dempos swallows Bicholim town, villages

Posted by sebydesiolim on Tue 21 of Aug, 2007 16:27 IST

Popularly known for thier generosity in promoting football in Goa, Dempo mining group is gradually swallowing Bicholim's precious resources. It has large number of mining leases in this taluka in Northen Goa. However Dempos have created hell like situation for the residents and farmers are forced to stop paddy on its fertile soil due to mining silts. Its roads are burdened with mining silt all the time and even dangerous during monsoon rains leading to large number of accident cases. In the non rainy days the air is full of nasty mining dust that has created large number people with severe health risks.

In and around Bicholim town for example Dempo mining corporation has approximately 550 hactares of area under mining lease. It is spread out in the municipal limits of Bicholim Municipal corporation, Lamgao, villages of Mayem, Bordem, Mulgao and Sirigao.

Even the public roads are within the mining lease of Dempos, one example to this effect is road from NSP Dempo Gate to Cine Hira Talkies in Bicholim town.

Dempo mining has led to large scale water depletion as high voltage water sucking pumps are installed inside the mines to carry on deeper mechanised mining activities.

Last month teacher Ramesh Gauns has filed police case for spreading silt on public roads in Bicholim and it is pending in the Court of the Executive Megistrate, Bicholim taluka, Bicholim.

Dempos are responsible for causing irreversible threats to natural lakes in Mulgao as well as in Mayem due to its reckless mining activities. Natural water sources have gone dry in Pilgaon village. Its greening policies are nonesense as it promotes monocultures hostile to nature in every sense.

Entire Bordem village is disrupted becuse of mining and landslides caused due to mining in 1991. The huge paddy field lies uncultivated and even people are displaced from thier original settlements.

Here is a picture of Bordem mine and high powered water pump in operation for you to see:

http://www.openspaceforum.net/twiki/tiki-view_blog_post_image.php?imgId=4 (external link)

By the way, you know where does this pumped water is released? In the Bicholim river ultimately! So much Dempos commitment for Environment, indeed ruthless!

All this for exports of Iron Ore first to Japan and in the last few years to China.

Sebastian Rodrigues


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Sesa Goa usurps village land in Naveli, Bicholim, Goa

Posted by sebydesiolim on Tue 21 of Aug, 2007 11:26 IST

For their Pig Iron Ore Plant Sesa Goa has established control over 25 lakh square meters of land in Naveli village of Bicholim Takula in Goa. This was disclosed by a vigilant villager Nilkhant Gawas at Seminar on "Environmental Issues of Goa: Mining, Sponge and Pig Iron Ore Plants" organised at Government middle school, Naveli by Nature Environment Society and Transformations (NEST) in collaboration with Naveli Village Panchayat and Shikshan Sanghatna, Naveli on August 19 2007.

Bcause of Sesa's Pig Iron Ore Plant that borders Amona village, village is polluted with graphite and innumerable sickneses have come about. There are two beneficiation plants in the village to wash iron ore for exports that fetch foreign exchange for India and fortunes for mining companies.

Sesa Goa earlier was Italian company, in the mid 1990s it was taken over by Japanese company Mitsui and in 2007 it is purchased by Anil Agrawal owned Vedanta group known for poor environmental records. Sesa Goa also has other mining sites in villages such as Pissurlem, in Sattari, Goa where it has destroyed this village with other mining companies. Sesa Goa is biggest mining companies in Iron Ore exports trade in India.

The other land grabbers are mining companies Damodar Mangaljis 4 lakh square meters, Dempo mining corporation 3.5 lakh square meters, Fomento mining company 2.5 lakh square meters, Timblos mining company 1.5 lakh square meters, and former cop Santoba Desai 50,000 square meters of land.

The total land grab of the village amounts to 37 lakh square meters. Industry is trying hard to quell the protest in Naveli. It remains to seen as to how long they are able to postpone the oncoming hurricane.

Sebastian Rodrigues


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Protest against Colonial Perpetuations in Goa

Posted by sebydesiolim on Tue 29 of May, 2007 17:31 IST

Once upon a time Goa was peaceful to stay and it's no longer so. We in Goa slept and few still sleeping on time bomb. Earlier we get up and defuse it better it is; for it is threatening to tear us and into pieces and our surrounding into desert with increasing instances of State nexus with marauding mining corporates - Indian and Foreign - equally brutal.

I have just returned from two days visit to Colamb village in Sanguem and was horrified to note the way police force is deployed to start mining by Fomentos for the past six months. Villagers I interacted Devki Velip and Devdita Antao showed me their houses around that has serious cracks due to mining explosions. Cracks are serious enough to make the two families homeless once monsoon begins few weeks from now and mud houses will give in and collapse. I am still not sure the fomentos have in mind; is it to provide them the shelter in their five star hotel Cidade de Goa or Is it to collect the mus of the collapsed houses and release it into Cidade de Goa's swimming pools? From where does Fomentos derives power to blast peoples houses?

And I also witnessed huge dumps of iron ore in the forest areas besides of course noting that mining is carried on in the reserved forest areas. Of course the forest department is actively colluding with Fomentos in playing this dangerous game at the cost of people's life and livelihood.

And I have noted goonda power from Sanvordem deployed by the mining company to terrorise the villagers and get them into the state of submission including by ways public humiliation of women. And of course I have not missed fightback waged by the Colamb villagers whose one third of village land is under mining that got activated since past six months. And this monsoon is going to the first time that they may perhaps be forced to go without what they have been doing for generations together: Cultivate rice, of course thanks to the great beneficiary of existing colonial structure in Sattari Taluka "Mokaso" and Goa Chief Minister today and for over twenty years in post liberation Goa.

Root of all this is nearly thousand mining concession granted by erstwhile Portugal colonial State in 1940s and with the flash of magnificent stupidity State of India decidedly carried on the colonial structure as it is. We badly are in need of radical changes in land relation we need to demand cancellation of all the mining leases granted by Portuguese colonial State and complete stop to iron ore mining in Goa. Mining has proved to be the industry that has created massive unemployment by invading agricultural lands and its support systems.

Sebastian Rodrigues

25th May 2007


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Trampling of Constitutional Rights in Jharkhand

Posted by sebydesiolim on Wed 24 of Jan, 2007 16:09 IST

January 24 2007

Like rest of India Newly carved State of Jharkhand in India too facing series of mega-trampling on citizens rights. The State of Jharkhand was carved out in the year 2000 after prolong demand of nearly 70 years for the same. However the timing of formation of separate State of Jharkhand seems to be less because of people’s agitation than due to Corporate desires for access to minerals that lies deep inside the ground occupied for thousands of years by Dalits and Adivasis. Jharkhand today is one of the richest mineral deposit of India and relentless efforts are on to sell out the minerals to number of world capitalist conglomerates.

Between 2003 and 2005 Jharkhand government went on a spree to enter into Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) for nearly 44 projects as per information available on Jharkhand State government website . MoUs? are Integrated Steel plants, Sponge Iron, Power Plants, Captive Coal mines, Ferro Alloy, mining, Crushing Units, Alumina Plants, Pig Iron, Steel making, Sponge Iron and Induction Furnance, Captive Power Plants, Aluminum products, WHR, Power Plant Washeries, Plant TMY Bar, Ladle Furnance, Stand billet carter1, Billet caster, Blast furnace, Pig castings, Cement and power tillers. Total land requirements is over 148908.66 acres in different parts of Jharkhand. Total investments in Jharkhand for the MoUs? signed is 187950.96 crore rupees. This includes corporate such as Tatas, Mittals, Hindalco, Kohinoor, Jindals and Goa’s Dempos. Goa’s V.S. Dempo & Company Pvt. Ltd entered in to MoU with Jharkhand Government on 6th October 2005 to set up Integrated Steel Plant at investment of 1016.00 Crore rupees with land requirement of 150 hectare in Manoharpur.

With the State government and Corporate entering in this collaborative pact Jharkhand is polarized between two distinct category of interests; adivasis and Dalits on one side as they stand to loose their land if these projects come true, and State and corporate on the other end as they tend to profit massively from their investments. Most of the elected representatives are caught in between this tug of war and the result is that even after year and half none of the projects are implemented so far. The stories of protest and resistance is alive all the time in Jharkhand. Dalit-Adivasi? solidarity in Jharkhand have succeeded in putting up formidable resistance to this land expropriation process.

From the spirit of Indian Constitution all the MoUs? signed by Jharkhand government are illegal. Adivasi land in Jharkhand comes under 5th Schedule of the Constitution and it is the Tribal Advisory Council that has power of land allocations in Adivasi areas. The Jharkhand State under the pressure from international capitalist forces has committed grave injuries to the constitutional provisions. Without Gram Sabha approval and without Tribal Advisory Council Approval all the MoUs? signed by State governments are illegal .

Biggest Working capital for all the projects under MoUs? is land, and all the land is with Adivasis and they are not going to give it to industrialists. For this reason very often nationalist jingoism is put into action. Spirit of sacrifice for the nation is invoked. Yet non of this is working in Jharkhand. Instead the spirit of resistance goes somewhat like what former deputy speaker of Bihar Assembly Devendranath Champia puts it “We have sacrificed enough in the name of Nation. We will not do any more. What Nation has done to us? Our Population has come down from 80% to 27%. We will give our life not our land.”

State-Corporate? nexus however is not willing to succumb to this logic and instead is working overtime to somehow get access to mining lands. The citizens of India who pays to keep India Army for its security is now prepared to attack the Adivasi and Dalits in Jharkhand to further corporate interests. It is time for Indian Society to remind the Indian and Jharkhand governments that India is Sovereign nation and will remain so. Interference of predatory State-Corporate? nexus is nothing but trampling of Constitutional Rights in Jharkhand and it is being resisted and pushed away at every moment in Jharkhand.


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Shaheed Shankar Guha Niyogi Anniversary : Some thoughts

Posted by sebydesiolim on Thu 28 of Sep, 2006 22:51 IST

September 28 2006

Today is the fifteenth anniversary of the martyrdom of Shankar Guha Niyogi. I am no expert to comment on his life and the movement he led. I have never been to Chattisgarh nor did I ever met met him. In fact I was just getting my entry into democratic movements in Goa in 1991 when he was gunned in his sleep in the wee hours of September 28. Yet I consider it as my duty to invoke his memory more so because it has some hidden insights to unravel for the contemporary Chattisgarh in particular and democratic movements elsewhere in the country in general.

There is already lot written about various aspect and some of which is available online. There is write up in his memory with vivid descriptions by Cheryl Kanekar. There is detail piece on his work and thinking by Rajni Bakshi. There is another one on his arrest in 1981documented by PUCL.. There is also brief PUCL summery on the trial of his murders. There is another one on his murder trial by Rakesh Shukla. There is another piece on miscarriage of justice after Niyogi murder by Ashok Mitra. There is video documentary Lal Hara Lehrake by Amar Kanwar: on Shankar Guha Niyogi's last testament, 1990, Hindi, no subtitles, 37 minutes. Gargi Sen made another film on called Niyogi Zinda Hai in 1992. V.T. Ommen have published biographical note on Shankar Guha Neogi's life describing him as working class hero. C.N. Subramaniam wrote in the middle of his trial a piece called booking of bourgeoisie:The Niyogi murder trial. There is also article linking Shankar Guha Niyogi's contribution leading towards formation of Chattisgarh State. There is also. N.D. Sharma's take tittled ' Was Niyogi Killed Without a motive?'.

There is also audio cassette Tumhari Yaad Main — Hindi songs paying tribute to Shankar Guha Niyogi by Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha. This abstract focuses on what happens after Niyogi's murder to the movement and it's radical image. There is also interesting book review titled 'Experiments with Revolutionary Trade Unionism: The experience of CMSS and Shankar Guha Niyogi.' The review is of hindi book edited by Anil Sadgopal and Shyam Bahadur 'Namr' containing speeches of Shankar Guah Niyogi is published by Raj Kamal Prakashan New Delhi.

There are the factbites on Shankar Guha Niyogi's life.

Largely the discourse centers around the life and movement prior to the killing of Niyogi in Billary. There are some references to the continuation of the movement after his murder in the same spirit. And there is even more literature focusing on the legal trial that took twists leading towards miscarriage of justice particularly at the high court level when the accused were freed. The contribution of the movement that he started leading towards creation of Chattisgarh State is also adequately highlighted. His views and innovative practices in trade unionism and environmentalism are recognised.

However there is very scarce reflections as to what is the contemporary relevance of Niyogi's ideas both philosophically and historically. The movement of Niyogi largely centred around his personality and his ability to give in terms of welfare measures such as schools and hospitals, creation of forest, defence of Adivasi and women's rights, active organising of mining workers in iron ore mines etc. His most threatening moments came about when he launched campaign against alcoholism and gambling among workers, and promoting workers literacy. This brought about downfall of powerful liqour industry. He audaciously challenged industrial mafia and became high profile unionist in India. He became one of the first persons in India to get into organising of contract workers.

His murder however opened up several lacunae. The main one being there was no replacement to his stature of leadership. The group fragmented into nearly three factions. NGOs filled up the existing vacuum. This is mainly because Niyogi himself ideologically wavered into three different ideologies. He was inspired by Gandhi, began his activism as Naxalite, and had tactical alliance with CPI-ML. His ideological wavering came to the forefront after his killing. The group was divided and further expansion became impossible. The movement however became famous yet remained localised progressive democratic force. Justice Krishna Aiyar asserts that Niyogi's ideas constitutes the ideology by itself called Niyogism.

It is not co-incident that fundamentalist forces began to make inroad into Chatisgarh's Kanker, Dantewada and Bastar districts only after Guha's murder. The former CPI hold was systematically taken over by repressive forces. Today the repression has reached monstrous levels in these three districts. It is virtually a militarisation of rural adivasi India that is taking place there with large number of deaths already in the name of Salwa Judum - a Gondi word meaning Collective Peace Hunting. There is need to take fresh breath here and engage in deeper introspection.

Niyogi's position that industrialization should be resisted because of environmental reason is highly problematic in contemporary Chattisgarh. The rich mineral belt is the centre of attention of World's corporate mining interest. The nearly 50% of total of about 500 highly polluting sponge iron plants are to come up in Chattisgarh. I wonder what position one has to take from Niyogi's perspective particularly since he also wants to stand in defence of singing birds and free frowing rivers? How does one to take his idea to set up Environmental Station on the lines of police stations in every village to create empolyment through out India? His perspectives on monoculture however are praiseworthy. Similarly his critiqe of forest department and need to empower Adivasis as defenders of forest is something that needs to be carried forward.

While we take inspiration from his selfless single minded and honest dedication to the cause, we also take few critical insights from his theory and practice. Perhaps that would be fitting tribute to Shaheed Shankar Guha Niyogi on his fifteenth martyrdom anniversary.

Reflected with Umesh Nazir (CPI) and Rajaram (CPI - ML) in Ranchi both of whom have worked with late Niyogi.

Sebastian Rodrigues


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Goa's Dempo mining company faces wrath of Jharkhand Adivasis

Posted by sebydesiolim on Sat 23 of Sep, 2006 22:18 IST

September 24 2006

Without paying a heed to pouring rains 4000 strong group of people march to the block headquarters of Manoharpur Block in Jharkand's West Singhbhum district on September 22 to express their opposition to take over of their land by Goa's Dempo mining corporation. The leaders of the agitation then handed over the memorandum of protest to the Block development officer and addressed the public meting.

Dempos have been trying to establish their foothold to start mining after 50 years of painful bleeding of Goa people's economy, ecology and agriculture. The company attempted a survey of the land but were chased away by hostile Adivasis. Tatas and Mittals too were chased away by angry villagers.

It is learnt that Dempos got the access to Jharkhand mines after Goa Political party United Goans Democratic Party (UGDP) won two assembly seats in Mandar, Ranchi. The place where Dempos are trying their luck is in the assembly constituency of Manoharpur in West Singhbhum represented by UGDP's Jhoba Manjhi.

Dempo mining is threatening to displace two tribal villages of Dinburlim and Kamarbeda consisting population of over 4000 villagers. And the neighbouring villages at the radious of 10 kms too are to face eviction threats once the mining begins.

Among those who came out with open support to the anti mining campaign includes Village 'Mundas' Amar Singh Cherwa, Prasad Cherwa, Manohar Angaria, ex-MLA Bahadur Oraon, CPI-ML leader Rajaram, BIRSA-Mines Monitoring Centre's Umesh Nazir, Lother Cherwa, Ashish Khededa, Somnath Sinku, ex-MLA Devenranath Champia and Sushil Barla of Jharkhandi Organisation for human Rights (JOHAR) and number of Village Republic Commitees.

Adivasis were shouting slogans asserting their ownership rights over the minerals, land, water and forest. They carried the traditional weapons of Bows and Arrows, Axes, Choppers, Sickles and Bamboo sticks. These weapons are symbols of Adivasi resistance to the Dempo plans in Jharkhand. They had set out to Manoharpur on foot from thier respective remote villages in the wee hours of the morning i.e. 4 am and reached the Manoharpur headquaters at 12 am in pouring rains.

It may be recalled that earstwhile Arjun Munda government has singned 44 memorandum of understandings (MoUs) with corporate houses from all over the world in November 2005. These includes Dempos, Tatas, Mittals, Jindals from India and De beers, South African diamond mining company. Jharkhand is gifted with India's largest stock of minerals and after liberalization policy mining has been opened up for public investments and to the ruin of Environment and people.

According to the Dinburlim villagers, Dempos have started pouring cash into the village in order to break the villagers unity. The villagers however have imposed 'janata curfew' on the corporates and have been petrolling round the clock to defend their lands. In one instance the corporate personel gone to the village for survey purpose was bashed up the agitated adivasis.

UGDP is supporting the new Jharkhand government headed by Ho tribal Madhu Koda and thier two MLAs Joba Manjhi and Bandhu Tirkey have been given ministerial berths today. In fact on the day of the swering -in ceremony of the new governmenet UGDP flags with two leaves were prominently displayed at the Birsa Munda Chowk. Two seats in Jharkhand's 80 member assembly is decisive twister that UGDP posseses.

Madhu Koda have already indiacted that those "unnecessary MoUs" singned by the earlier Arjun Munda government will be cancelled. The announcement have already sent shock wave to the corporate world seeking to invest in Jharkhand mining sector. However it is going to be tough decision as democracy and corporate interests does no go hand in hand.

In a world imperialist stage this a fight between assertive united Jharknad Adivasis and the corporate Dempos. The clash is clear call to each one of us to take sides. The choice of course is yours, the choice is mine, the choice is of each one of us and individuals, as communities. It is time of reckoning. It is time of decisive thinking, decisive acting.

Sebastian Rodrigues, Manoharpur, West Singhbhum, Jharkhand.


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26 Years of Gua Firing: Some reflections

Posted by sebydesiolim on Sat 23 of Sep, 2006 22:10 IST

September 09 2006

The history of India is really the history of people who never wrote the history. It's not the colonial history, nor is it the history of the Gandhis or Nehrus.

Edward Said (1999)

The brutal Gua firing completed 26 years yesterday September 08 2006. This mail is a remembrance as well as homage to those Adivasis died fighting in defense of their land in Democratic Republic of India in 1980. Fight of Adivasis in defense of forest continues till today. In fact it has it has intensified to new level. Jharkhand today is a separate State but it is in the era where in imperialist forces are tightening their loop around adivasis, Dalits and other common People of Jharkhand.

The resistance is no longer restricted only to Gua but has spread out through all over Jharkhand. Forest continued to be preyed upon by corporate as Jharkhand State has signed Memorandum of Understandings MoUs? with 44 corporate houses from all over the World. The capitalist model of development is seeking to strengthen its roots through repressive means. Considering the resistance offered by Adivasis and Dalits in the form of 'Janta Curfews' at the village levels the history of Police violence is all set to repeat itself many more times. State have aligned itself with corporate and peoples solidarity have become strong. The confrontations between the two sides are bound to create history to be written in letter of blood. Tatas have proved it can do it on the very next day of New Year 2006 in Orissa's Kalinganagar. It had done so while establishing Jamshedpur 100 years before that when Santhal Adivasis were whipped to death space cleared to establish Jamshedpur city. Kalamatti then was given a new name after the founder of one of the most brutal industrial houses India has ever produced - Jamshedji Tata. And it is Tatas that who are involved in bulldozing Gua Adivasis under mining bulldozers in Gua. Tatas are our very own Indian company who are involved in genocides of our very own Indian, most peace loving people on earth- the Adivasis.

Yet the Indian State sought to make every one believe that Tatas and adivasis are equal in the spirit of Indian Constitution to the tune of 'Vande Mataram' on the 26th Anniversary of Gua firing yesterday. And the fascist forces to whom Corporate rule is most dear of everything, decidedly implemented the agenda to forget the Gua firing with Malegaon bomb blasts. So from next year focus will shift from the contradictions at the base of economy to superstructure. The attempt is clearly to burry the public memory of the Gua firing. It will be a deciding factor of borders between the two contentious forces as two organised religions. While Gua firing reminds us that the boundary of fight is between an organised Corporate-State? nexus versus the Adivasis. Corporate always benefits from the fascists onslaughts. If not then check out the history of any of the German companies as to whom they were politically aligning themselves at the time of Nazi dictatorship in Germany. Corporate besides benefiting from repression of Trade Unions and Progressive Intellectuals also were fed with human products that came out of Holocaust as raw material for industry.

We have entered in a decisive phase of our contemporary times where in the politics of memory and memory of politics is being played out on Public memory. It is now upon you and me to collectively decipher the events unfolding in complex manner in front of us and intervene decisively. Silence at this point is lethal for us as community. It is in this context that enormous significance gets attached to the twenty-sixth anniversary of Gua firing. The major motivation for corporate onslaught is increased consumption of Steel in urban centers of the world including India. Yet urban India refuses to acknowledge this and continue to align itself with the corporate in its consumption pattern. Earlier the urban India becomes conscious of this fact better it is or the contradictions are bound to widen further.

Here is a report prepared in 1981 by Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) to refresh your memory as to what what happened on that fateful day on September 08 1980.

Sebastian Rodrigues with inputs from BIRSA team in Chaibasa and Ranchi.

........

PUCL Bulletin June 1981

"There is not a single lawless group in the whole country whose record of crime anywhere nears the record of the organised unit which is known as the Indian Police force".

(from a judgement by Justice A.N. Mullab in Allababad High Court.)

Gua

On Monday, September 8, 1980, eight tribals were gunned down by the Bihar Military Police in a hospital compound in the south Bihar mining town of Gua. The incident was bizarre-and not unjustifiably likened to the Jallianwala massacre-for obvious reasons. The police fired without provocation and without authority; they fired on unarmed and wounded adivasis who were awaiting medical attention inside a hospital; and what is even worse, senior doctors present at the time did nothing to stop them.

This dastardly act was a sequel to a police firing in the township on a peaceful crowd of 3000 adivasis gathered to protest against police harassment. According to official figures, three adivasis died there. Of course, a large number were injured; the wounded were not brought for medical aid for reasons that are too obvious to state. However, a visit to just five villages neighbouring Gua in December last year revealed that 14 people were still missing. Local people put the figure of adivasis killed at around 100.

For months prior to the protest meeting, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha had been spearheading the much misunderstood "jungle kato" movement in Singhbhum district. Contrary to the official propaganda mounted against it, its aim was not the destruction of forests. The adivasis wanted to reclaim their lands lost to the British during the rebellions of the last hundred years. All that has remained to mark their lost habitations are "sarangs", or memorial stones in the forests, indicating the burial grounds of their ancestors. Increasingly denied access to forest produce in recent years, faced with continued exploitation from moneylenders, contractors and the local officials, the adivasis had no choice but to try and reclaim their lost lands or face starvation.

The growth of the tribal movement in Singhbhum invoked the wrath of the State apparatus which represents the interests of the local power groups. A large contingent of the Bihar Military Police was posted in the area. In a style characteristic of the paramilitary forces, they exercised their punitive authority over the tribals. The policemen would lift fowl and vegetables from the villages without payment and indiscriminately arrest people.

To protest against this behaviour of the BMP, the adivasis organised a protest meeting at Qua aerodrome on the afternoon of September 8 under the aegis of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. A contingent of the BMP arrived on the scene-along with two magistrates-and encircled the crowd. The magistrates sought to pacify the police who insisted that the tribals stop their march through the town towards the office of the Block Development Officer to whom they proposed to present their memorandum. The adivasis agreed to cancel their march. They insisted, however, on holding their meeting in the local market square as planned, after which they promised to disperse. They handed over their memorandum to the magistrate present. The police left.

At the meeting, as soon as the first speaker started addressing the crowd the police force returned. They surrounded the gathering with upraised rifles; they forcibly dragged away the speaker to their waiting jeep and arrested other adivasi leaders. The adivasis were incensed. There was an altercation-and a clash. The police fired 37 rounds; the adivasis retaliated with their bows and arrows which they customarily carry with them. Three adivasis and four policemen died on the spot. The police then transported their injured to the Gua Mines Hospital, half a kilometre away from the bazar The tribals too carried their wounded there. They were made to deposit their bows and arrows at the gate; they were asked to lay the injured under the tree in the hospital compound to await the doctors. Before they knew what was happening, the BMP officials had opened fire again on these helpless adivasis. All eight died on the spot.

Official sources admitted the "deterrent action" was a result of the decision arrived at on August 30 at Patna at a high-level meeting of officials attended by the Forest Minister The Minister is believed to have said : "We have to stop this at all costs".

In the months that-followed this incident, police jeeps would raid the villages in the area, in search of supporters of the JMM which is leading a movement for a separate Jharkhand state. They broke into huts at night, beat up the residents, stole the belongings of the adivasis, molested and, in a number of cases, raped women. Terror stalked the Singhbhum countryside for months afterwards. The moment a jeep arrives in a village, the inhabitants, particularly the women, disappear into the surrounding Saranda forest.

Sourced from PUCL website:

http://www.pucl.org/from-archives/81june/case-studies.htm (external link)


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