Thursday, 22 January 2015

Mining provokes water wars in Goa: Shirgao V/s Poira

They are both in Bicholim Taluka. They are both facing water shortages. They are both victims of mining. They are both neighboring villages  They both have politicians who try to find superficial solution to water shortages. The political leadership is hypocritical for it carries on sycophancy with mining industry. The two villages are Sirgao and Poira. Both has history of mining of half a century. The water shortages are due to reckless destruction of water table that has been pushed down to 70 meters below Sea Level. Mountains of Shirgao were majestic. They served not only to wildlife and plants, trees big and small but also as natural water tanks. They made the village prosperous many decades ago with non-stop water supply. And then mining came. Villagers protested. Protesting villagers arrested in 1970s as in Mayem and protest fizzled out. Miners won and Goa's mulnivasis lost. They lost the rivers to mining and so they lost the paddy fields to mining silt. And they lost their health to the dust from the mining companies. 

And Panchayats including Sirgao Panchayat is least bothered about all this. The Sarpanch has threatened to march on the streets on the issue of concrete water tanks water diversion to Poira village but cares a hoot for enormous destruction of natural water tanks of Shirgao - its mountains by Dempos, sold to Vendanta, Chowgules and other mining interests. Damage is really huge and protest of the Panchayat is not matching to the damage caused. And media is silent on the core issues too. Reports in Herald and Navhind Times carefully avoided any reference to mining and to the Speech of Dinanath Gaonkar in the Gram Sabha under discussion that was held on 18 January 2015. Media too is protecting mining industry and this is unfortunate development. 

While this is a situation of Shirgao as far as water is concerned Goa's EVM fraud government is going ahead with renewal of 29 mining leases. And Goa Government wants to finish of rest of Goa as well: loot, plunder, decimate, terrorize. This is the mantra of the present governance in Goa. Yet none of these are enough stifle the voices. We still remember police torture of Babi Gaonkar of Shirgao for protesting against mining industry. You may refresh your memory with a click here.

NEERI report on mining is clear in dissection what went on wrong due to mining for Shirgao. Click here to refresh your memory if needed. Shirgao Panchayat is has been completely misguided and enslaved to avoid attacking mining that has horrendously mauled Shirgao like a tiger does to its prey.  

Water tank under discussion here was constructed as a result of compliance of PWD affidavit to the Goa bench of Bombai High Court, Panaji in response to Sirgaon villagers Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in 2007. No MLA has proposed it. No Sarpanch has proposed it to be constructed.

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