Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Bharat Mukti Morcha condemns the Goa State Forest Policy


The Goa State Forest Policy-2009 is notified by the in the Official Gazette series III No.1 dated 7th April 2011. Two months are given for the suggestions, not objections.  Public right to object is taken away subtly. This happens only in brahmanocracy and never in democracy.

One of the objectives of this policy is ‘reclamation of abandoned mining areas and forestation of mine dumps/rejects.’ This means Goa government is going to be using public money on abandoned mines and let all the wealth and profit to be siphoned off by mining companies.
As a strategy policy says ‘All the forest areas should be reflected in the land Index Form I & XIV by way of mutation in the land records. Priority should be given to permanently and correctly demarcating the forest boundaries and for maintenance to prevent ambiguity and encroachments.’  This means that forest department will intensify its efforts to fence off forest land and block access to the tribal people and other forest dwellers.

It refrains from even mentioning the existence of ‘The Scheduled Tribes and Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of forest rights) Act, 2006’ the law that is meant to protect tribal and other forest dwellers’ access to forest. Brahmanical Goa government has so far systematically blocked the implementation of this law. It has refrained from constituting mandatory district level and sub-divisional level committees. In a compliance report ending 31st March 2011 filed with central ministry of tribal affairs Goa Government submitted that OBCs have objected implementation of this Act hence delay in implementation. This is a brahmanical conspiracy to create strife between tribal people and OBCs.

This policy further states that eco-tourism will be promoted by forest department and its ‘efforts should be aimed at creation of livelihood avenues for the local poor people’. It hides the fact that eco-tourism is essentially for profits of the brahmanical interest and so called poor are the mulnivasis who will be made to provide service in return of tips that depends upon whims and fancies of the tourists.  Brahmanical State of India and Goa is responsible for this poverty of mulnivasi people.

Policy aims at legitimizing rule of the forest department over mulnivasi in its forest management. It says ‘Degraded forest areas near habitations need to be regenerated with involvement of local communities through the Joint Forest Management principles.’ This is meant to neutralize the Forest Rights Acts 2006 that grants autonomy of forest management to tribal and other forest dwelling communities.

Mining is given green signal in this forest policy. It says ‘Mineral prospecting/exploration or mining (fresh or existing leases and/or their renewal) including extraction of minor minerals shall be regulated as per the existing legal provisions.’ This means existing diversion of forest land to mining will not be taken back nor will future diversion of forest for mining be banned. Our forest is being gifted on a platter for mining industry. Already 1282 hectares of Goa’s forest land has been diverted for mining purpose. Goa has no forest land left of mandatory compensatory afforestation to match cutting down of forest.

Medicinal plants are to be documented and then ‘enabling environment needs to be created to facilitate marketing of medicinal plants for the income generation of farmers’. Pharmaceutical industry is behind this move. Patents will follow and tribal and other mulnivasis will then be deprived of these medicinal plants. 

People staying and cultivating in forest has been legally registered as encroachers.  Intruder forest department has been legally recorded as owner. Now as per this policy ‘encroachment on forest lands should be monitored on periodic basis an effective punitive action against the encroachers should be taken in accordance with the Act/Rule.’ New phase of brahmanical domination to start.

Tribes and other will be deprived of cattle grazing in forest. The policy states that ‘Grazing on forest lands should be regulated and should not be encouraged.’ This means that entire control of forest will be resting with forest department who then will hand it over to mining companies at a mass scale as it is already being done. Buffer zone has been totally done away with for sanctuaries. It is not surprising therefore that the first priority of research of the forest department is “Technical know-how for the reclamation of mining areas and mine dumps/rejects with locally available natural forestry species’. This makes it very clear that intention of forest department of the Goa’s brahmanical State is that forest land be given for mining purpose. Reclamation can be thought of only after the forest is allowed to be destroyed by mining companies. This policy is a determined declaration for the destruction of Goa’s forest and further increase in loot and plunder of Goa.

Today iron ore mining has led Goa towards dangerous situation. Its water, soil, agriculture, forest, is being continuously destroyed. Villages and villages are going under the mining debris. Those which are protesting bravely like Colamb, Sirgao, Advalpal, Cavrem, Ambaulim, Sattari, Naveli, Morpirla, Pirna, Khola,  are time and again targeted with police repression, lathi charged and dragged in Court cases. Over 500 cases are filed against people protesting against mining industry in Goa. This industry earns huge amount of income from sale of iron ore, manganese and bauxite. In 2009-10 alone it exported approximately 46 million tones of iron ore earning 23 lakh crore rupees at the rate of Rs.5/- per kilo. India’s budget for 2011-12 is Rupees 12 lakh 58 thousand crore. Earnings of Goa’s mining industry are near double the budgets of India! Nearly 68,000 hectares of Goa’s land is under mining leases.

Goa is looser from mining. Handfuls of mining companies are robbing the people of Goa. Brahmanical State in Goa and India is actively promoting this robbery. Goa cannot afford this any more. Mining in entire State of Goa must be stopped immediately. Existing mining companies operating in Goa be nationalized. No new mining be allowed. The Goa State Forest Policy-2009 is one decision to inflict maximum damage to Goa and its mulnivasi people. Bharat Mukti Morcha strongly condemns The Goa State Forest Policy-2009. It must be scrapped!

Jai Bharat!                                                                             Jai Mulnivasi!

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