Friday 14 December 2018

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Economy | Mining

Like Cong, is BJP Govt also supporting mining illegalities?

 

Is Goa’s BJP government really interested in people-friendly sustainable mining or allowing illegalities under the garb of resumption of legal mining?

This is a basic question raised, not by intellectual economists or NGOs, but the tribal Goan youth who have waged a war against illegal mining.

Ravindra Velip, who was recently blind-folded and assaulted in a lock up last week and Nilesh Gaonkar, who was beaten up in 2011 when he raised his voice against illegal mining, are leading this movement from a remote village of Quepem taluka – Caurem.

“We are not against mining. We want mining. We want mining to help Goa get revenue. We want mining to help the locals from the mining area”, says Velip.

But authorities, according to him, are acting otherwise.

When they demand inventory of the e-auctioned mining dumps from their village, the authorities refuse.

And when they try to stop transportation of the iron ore, calling it illegal, police come forward quickly – not to stop the ore transport but to arrest the villagers who try and stop it.

They were arrested when they stopped ore transport on 21st and 22nd March while Ravindra,  the local panch, was beaten up mercilessly in a judicial lock up.

To add to his woes, the Goa Medical College doctors let him go without treatment when he went for treatment seven days after he was beaten up.

And when he went to Mumbai, he says he was immediately rushed to the operation theatre for his fractured elbow.

“Is it a crime to stop the illegality and help the government to get the revenue”, asks Nilesh Gaonkar, who was assaulted near the Quepem police station yesterday when he had gone to help his arrested colleagues.

 

“They even tried to arrest me when I am a lawyer and has a full right to meet my clients to try for their release”, says Adv Suhas Velip, a lawyer from the village.

The trio from Caurem also asks why no FIR has been filed against his jail-assault till date while the police quickly arrested the villagers, including 30 women, when they tried to stop illegal transportation of ore.

 “If we are giving wrong information, let mines director Prasanna Acharya tell us why he had acted against our complaints of illegalities earlier”, asks Ravindra.

They also ask why local MLA Subhash Phaldesai, in spite of declaring to be with the villagers, simply disappeared yesterday when the locals were arrested.

After fighting against illegal mining in 2011 when the Congress was ruling and now when the BJP is ruling, they have reached a conclusion:

No matter who rules, it’s a rule of the miners-politicians-bureaucracy nexus that rules the state!






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