Big Corporates and their Political Minions need the Boot

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By AMITA KANEKAR

 

Monkeys are taking over village roofs across Goa, from Pernem to Canacona. According to Rama Velip, environmentalist and anti-mining activist, this is just one of the ways his village of Colomb has changed over the last decade. Most of the paddy fields and coconut plantations were damaged by mining run-off. Water availability went down; with heavy pollution of the river and wells running dry, the winter paddy cultivation was stopped. Increasingly erratic and unseasonal weather changes routinely cause crop failures. On top of all this are unwanted visitors: hoards of monkeys, along with leopards, wild boar, and bison. In fact, with bison attacks becoming common in the talukas of Bicholim, Sattari and Sanguem, some villages have demanded a drastic change in the classification of Goa’s state animal from ‘protected’ to ‘vermin’, which would allow them to be killed.

 

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Past and Present for 2019

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

Our political condition becomes worse with each passing year. The nature of public debate (rather the absence of it), the deteriorating condition of public infrastructure, and unscrupulous bids have plunged Goa’s into chaos. Thus, taking stock of the bygone year, or reflecting on the past on any anniversaries (such as the recently concluded 57th Liberation Day of Goa), appears to be an exercise in futility. However, can we really afford to ignore the past? If we do, we run the risk of subjecting ourselves to the same political manipulations of the past. It is only by considering the past errors that we are able to avoid blunders in the present and future. However, making sense of our present in relation to the past (thereby charting a vision for the future) is not as easy as it seems.

 

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On Those Who Do(n’t) Depend on Mining

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

Irrespective of whether one does or does not depend on mining, one will suffer from the ill-effects. If one isn’t involved in the sector, the dust, pollution, and the destruction of the ecology will nonetheless affect one’s daily life. If one is a service-provider – such as a truck owner/driver, machine operator, and barge owner/worker – in the mining industry, the rampant illegalities (and even legalities that keep changing) in the sector bring in a lot of uncertainties. Thus, whether one depends for sustenance on mining or not, in Goa all are ‘mining-affected’.

 

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High Time for Just and Equitable Transition

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

With the Supreme Court having directed closure of mines in Goa, with the “mining-dependents” having taken to the streets, and the issues of workers’ displacement lying unaddressed, it is necessary to expose the myths that are being fomented by the mining mafia, that has so far managed to lawlessly hold sway and control everything from governance and land, to media and identity.

 

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Idle Trucks, Striking Taxis, and a Broken System

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

The recent ban by the Supreme Court of India on mining activities in Goa for a second time reminds us of the plight faced by those dependent on the mining industry. But the court order also brings to mind other Goans stuck in a similar situation of facing economic uncertainty and the consequences of large-scale illegalities. For instance, it is, I think, useful to compare the mining industry and the tourism industry as both have been touted as the ‘backbone’ of Goan economy, and both these industries witness conflicts and illegalities in equal measure.

 

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Trucked! Mining Dust and Protest in Goa

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

With the Sadhana Multipurpose Cooperative Society (SMCS) being allowed a legal existence as a cooperative society, the debate on how Goa should deal with its mineral resources is moving forward in a direction that holds much promise. The initiative of the setting up of the cooperative was led by the villagers of Caurem, particularly by Ravindra Velip. The villagers of Caurem had to fight for almost three years before the authorities agreed to recognize Sadhana as a cooperative society. That Sadhana was made to wait for so long is not surprising considering that their objectives is to enter the mining business whereby they will operate leases, extract ore, transport the extracted ore, sell and export it, cutting across the interests of giant corporates. This three year period, therefore, was not one of idle wait for the villagers of Caurem, but one marked by numerous protests as well as attacks on the villagers.

 

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A Bahujan Challenge to the Mining Mafia

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By AMITA KANEKAR

 

The ironies of the so-called development of Goa are indeed unlimited. On the one hand, the government and elites of this state hard-sell it to India as a place of unlimited ‘good times’, to be used for holidaying, partying, drinking, gambling, and other increasingly unpleasant pleasures, the price of which is paid in many ways by common Goans. On the other, the Bahujan communities, esp. Bahujan Christians whose culture is sold as Goa’s tourism USP, are painted as anti-nationals by the Goan elites when they ask for their Konkani – i.e. Roman script Konkani – to be recognised as one of Goa’s languages, or even for English-medium education for their children. As for the physical landscape of Goa, hyped as paradisiacal again for consumption by largely Indian tourists, it is disappearing before our very eyes. Whether it is destructive tourism of the casino and golf course variety, ‘development’ projects like DefExpo, the cancerous growth of second-homes and holiday-homes eating up the hills, or a refusal to mine Goa’s mineral wealth in a transparent, sustainable and community-conscious way, Goa’s ruling elites, in close collaboration with those of India, seem determined to squeeze out the maximum profit in the shortest possible time, leaving a desert behind.

 

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