Saturday 28 October 2023

Radiation threat to school students at Gulem, Sattari

On mobile tower radiation threats to villagers and students at Government School at Gulem, Sattari

Dr. S. A. Rodrigues

It's trajectory is complex. Village was nestled in Western Ghats mighty mountains where rivers are born. Four and half decades back Pratapsigh Rane, then Chief Minister of Goa decided to dam one river in Sattari to benefit sugarcane plantations. Promises of industrial growth was alluring to Rane and so he matched his moves with vibes of his times.

This dam is today known as Anjunem dam. Four villages were submerged. People of these villages were resettled elsewhere. Three of these villages were resettled in Morlem Panchayat Jurisdiction. Their settlement today is collectively known as "Morlem Colony".

One of these resettled village is named Gulem. They are people with sharp memories of their original inhabitation in the mountains. There is disjuctures in their histories. Politically they are in Poriem Constituency with Divya Rane as their MLA.

Gulem has number of houses, shops, Pre-primary, Primary and High schools. All of them are Government schools and has blue and white as their uniforms. Pre-primary has 10 students, Primary has 56 students studying daily while High school has 173 students. So total students that study in Gulem sxhool complex itself amount to 239 students. There is little open space nearby and village children use it as play ground.

From the village plains majestic tall western ghats mountains are visible at some distance away and temptations to track are not rare occurances to a visitor to Gulem.

Some village children study in schools in Sinquerim, the nearby city located some kilometers away. Air here is pure, scenery picturesque. Yet not every is fine. There is subtle currents of unrest. Power relations are getting disturbed. Their village space to play for children is being 'developed' for the purpose of WaterTreatment Plant. Additionally, next to the school complex there is newly erected mobile tower. Village is disturbed yet again. Memories of rehabilitation hasn't healed yet and now there is glaring possibility of radiation with frequencies in megabytes and even gigabytes.

Village is concerned deeply on the likely health impact of additional radiation from the cellular tower. Those at powers-that-be are certain that for the sake of progress and prosperity cellular towers are needed. PWD, IT departments in Goa has been promoting cellular towers all over by suppressing information on radiation effects on human health and the entire biotic community. Towers are installed through speed and sleath while people are still ignorant. 

Gulem village however is fortunate to have public spirited sensitive citizens Ashok Gawas and Ramnath Parab to forsee dangers of radiation to the village. "Till about five years back we used to see so many vultures feeding on dead. But now after mobile towers installation their reproductive process got disrupted. The eggs they used to lay started getting damaged due to radiation from the cellular towers and their population is currently on verge of extinction" observed Ramnath Parab who is active in various media initiatives in Goa including broadcasting and publishing. 

"Mobile tower radiation is single most reason for drastic reduction in coconut yield over the past ten years" remarked another village lady at the meeting to focus on radiation impacts.

"There are at least 20 instances of resistence to cellular tower installation due to radiation issues in Goa" informs Ashok Gawas, young man that struggles around radiation issues in the village.

Fortnight back villagers of Gulem carried on signature campaign against installation of mobile tower by indus company next to village school in letters addressed to the IT, PWD, GSPCB and other departments of Goa Government. It is not clear as to what action has been taken by these government authorities.

Installation of mobile tower was done under police protection. When approached police informed the villagers that they should either get directions from the Court of Law or from local MLA. It only then plans to installed mobile tower next to school complex in Gulem can be stalled.

Do school students has no say in the matter? Are they supposed to be sacrificial goats for the cellular industry? Isn't it a duty of education department to ensure safety of students from mobile tower radiation? Do Child Rights Commision any duty to speak up on mobile tower installations next to school buildings when prescribed limit is 500 meters distance from schools, prisons etc? Should we activate Article 51-A(g) dealing with Fundamental duties at mass scale to combat cellular radiation?

Currently Divya Rane is the local MLA. As per available information her office in Sattari don't even posses rubber stamp to receive acknowledgement to submitted petitions. Why is this situation? Why citizens of Poriem Constituency put under this kind of treatment?

After village Gulem submergence under Anjunem dam, do State of Goa aims at anhilition of the village through radiation?

Scientific studies reveal that infertility, sleeplessness, brain tumors, carcinogenic threats are very common due to radiation. And with 5G roll out dangers are to multiply. There are several scientific research studies available and we will be happy to share and collaborate. 

There is need to raise sensitivity levels on mobile tower radiations at every level including with Judges at the Goa Bench of Bombay High Court.

We have inspiration flowing from  Upendra Borkar whose relentless struggle has led to uprooting of Reliance mobile tower at Kurduwada, Khandola in 2019. We have suucessful fightback from young man from Betki, Ponda Nitesh Shetkar in 2023. We have teacher Julia D'souza from Moira who fought successfully with collaboration of her fellow villagers against mobile tower installation decade ago. We have pioneer in Rohidas Andrade and his team in Bambolim who intercepted Reliance mobile tower installation at 5.00 am before the dawn of the day. They are all our inspiration. Are you will to be one more to lead and inspire movement to free our society of radiation malaise in your own small or/and big way?

To offer your solidarity with Gulem villagers kindly contact Ashok Gawas @ +919923272471

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