Saturday 8 September 2012

Mopa airport project: a super bamani conspiracy against mulnivasis land control

George Carlin famously said ‘there are few rules that I live my life by, the first rule is: I believe nothing that government tells’. And truly Bamani governments ruled by Congress and BJP in Delhi and Goa are in non-stop collusion with each other to further the bamon interest of annihilation of mulnivasi people through various strategies of deception

1st September 2012 issue of ‘the Goan’ published an interview with Mr. V.P.Agarwal, Chairman of Airports Authority of India based in Delhi. The interview is meant to drum up support for the Mopa airport project in the Northern border taluka of Pernem. There is already another airport functioning in Dabolim, Marmagoa. Various reasons are cited as to why two airports are needed for such a tiny State of Goa. The reasons cited range from partial Navy control over Dabolim airport to inadequate facilities for landing at Dabolim. The interview also mentions that both the airports are the projects of heavy investments.  Land acquisitions process is on legally, even though with some setback due to High Court cases by the villagers of the affected villages of Varkhand, Casarvanem, Chandel, Ugvem, Amerem, Mopa and Poraskadem.

The real reason however does not figure at all in the interview. The reason is a Bamon conspiracy against mulnivasi people by causing massive deprivation of land.

First notification of land acquisition expired in 2006 without land being acquired, and it is interesting to know as to who acted as a pressure for the government to push for fresh land acquisition notifications. It was no other that bamons and their political parties both Congress and BJP fulfilled this role. Bamon Jeetendra Deshprabhu, who was an office bearer of Congress party, played this role. BJP party through its President Laxmikant Parsekar also fulfilled this role. Bamon Deshprabhu who were later convicted in illegal mining scandal in Korgaon, Pernem launched an agitation in 2006 to demand fresh land acquisition notifications for Mopa airport project be issued. What is the interest of Bamon Jeetendra Deshprabhu in this? The interest is that most of land for the proposed airport in Pernem is owned by his family legally, purely because he is a Bamon and his ancestral connection with Portuguese colonial rule that bestowed upon him title of ‘Viscon de Pernem’. This title was not only given during Portuguese colonial era but was renewed in the decade of 1990s by Portugal government. This title is given to a person - in the tradition of European nobility - to govern a district as a representative of the State. Deshprabhu got this title from the Portuguese state even though Portuguese rule officially ended in Goa on 19th December 1961.

From this title it can be deduced that Bamon Deshprabhu’s ancestors colluded with Portuguese in the matter of administration that’s why they never demanded that Goa be freed from colonial yoke as practically at local level in Pernem it was under Bamani yoke.

This rank in Portuguese administration gave undue hold over Pernem taluka to Bamon Deshprabhu’s family. After Portuguese era officially ended, with Indian army action in 1961, in a matter of decade most of the land got transferred in his family name via scandalous land survey of 1972. As a result 23 villages out of 27 villages of Pernem are legally controlled by Deshprabhu family. Mulnivasis who are the indigenous people of India are tenants and Bamons who are Eurasians by their DNA are the Owners, Bamon Jeetendra Deshprabhu is certainly one of them.

This injustice with mulnivasi people by Bamons is real problem of Pernem. Instead of solving this problem by taking away land from Deshprabhu and handing over to the mulnivasi people, Airport is sought to be imposed on Pernem  and Goa, even though there is one airport at Dabolim is easily sufficient for the State of Goa. And Bamon Deshprabhu has been leading the campaign to get airport at Mopa. In 2006 he slept on the tracks of Konkan railway in Pernem and blocked railway traffic for nearly three hours. Why do Bamon Deshprabhu had to resort to such a drastic step? He had to do this because there was increasing assertion by mulnivasi people in Pernem and they had begun revolting against his hegemony. In Korgao mulnivasi people had defied him openly; in several villages mulnivasi people had stopped paying traditional khand (tribute) in kind to this landlord. Revolts have been simmering all over Pernem. In another incident mulnivasi people countered muscle tactics adopted to frighten the mulnivasi people in Devsu, Pernem. There are several people in Pernem who are witness to the Deshprabhu’s shady deals over the past few decades.

The subtle yet certain revolt is not just against Bamon Deshprabhu but against all landlords across Pernem taluka. That is the reason Permen taluka is covered up with projects that would need large amount of land taken away from the control of the mulnivasi people. In Mopa it is a Greenfield airport in the form of Special economic Zone, In Dhargal it is sports city, in Mandrem it is sports village, in Tiracol it is golf Course, and massive sand extraction of Tiracol river that is making dangerous inroads into land that has Deshprabhu as owner in villages like Kiranpani, Keri. It is expectation of Bamons that with all these projects closing in, the hold of Mulnivasi people over land in Pernem will be lost. Currently even though ownership is with landlord, on ground it is the mulnivasi people who are in the control of land. This situation needs to be changed. The land ownership patterns of Pernem must be changed and all the land under the control of all the Bamon landlords needs to be taken back and given to mulnivasi people as they are the rightful owners of the same. This is a revolutionary proposition and needs to be implemented in revolutionary interest.  Bamons are expecting rise of such an upsurge and are therefore in a mighty hurry to sell out Pernem. There are reports that Deshprabhu and other bamon interests are anticipating massive real estate boom in Pernem if this airport and other projects are allowed to take off.

BJP has been involved in campaigning for the airport since 2006 when it organized public meeting in coastal Pernem claiming that it is in the interest of development of Pernem. One does not need an expertise in rocket science as to understand why BJP never demanded that the land ownership patterns in Pernem taluka be changed and ownership rights be given to mulnivasis. This is because BJP is against the interest of Mulnivasi people. Now that it is in power instead of promoting long term land reform for the benefit of mulnivasis by taking over the land of landlords such as Bamon Deshprabhu, it has indulged in distractive tactic of giving money to girls and women,  while MLAs siphon of public treasury by 1 lakh 3 thousand per month as their official salary! Ministers, Chief minister and the Leader of the Opposition is drawing even more than this and draw up projects to take away mulnivasi control over land in Goa.

The basic problem of Pernem like other parts of country is caste system and Jati system created by Bamons and mulnivasi people are enslaved. Goa Chief Minister Bamon Manohar Parrikar instead of dealing with this issue has indulged in diversionary tactics by publicly stating that Airport in Pernem is needed for the reasons of exporting vegetable grown in Pernem and Maharashtra. He wants us to believe that the major problem of Pernem is that it has no market to sell its cultivated vegetables and it needs the airport by itself to export vegetables! Truly he is Bamon master of deception and distraction. Yet what else could be expected of a Bamon when he occupies the position of Chief Minister? Historically bamons has been cheating mulnivasi people in Goa and India and he just continues that tradition. No amount of request and cajoling is going to change them. It is only independent movement of Mulnivasi people that is going to change this situation. Bharat Mukti Morcha is committed to generate this movement.

Opposition to Mopa airport is strong even in South Goa as mulnivasi people involved in businesses fear loss of their business. In order to quall this opposition additional grants of 350 crore are sanctioned to Dabolim airport and Chairman of the Airports Authority of India V.P.Agarwal is asked to give public assurance that both the airports will function simultaneously based on passenger choice.  This is a mega bluff. George Carlin famously said ‘there are few rules that I live my life by, the first rule is: I believe nothing that government tells’. And truly Bamani governments ruled by Congress and BJP in Delhi and Goa are in non-stop collusion with each other to further the bamon interest of annihilation of mulnivasi people through various strategies of deception. Even the unanimous decision of Lok Sabha on 6th and 7th May 2010 to carry caste-based census was betrayed while implementing. When betrayal of mulnivasi people are so glaring and upfront what credibility does statement in ‘The Goan’ dated 1st September 2012 that Dabolim airport will not be shut down in favor of Mopa airport carry? What is big thing about 350 crore grants for airport expansion when daily scandals in India runs in thousands of crore? What is such a big hurdle to close down Dabolim airport and betray mulnivasi people in both South and North Goa?

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