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

Friday 27 October 2023

Fishing Union challenge North Goa MP Shripad Naik on his Marina statement

All Goa Small Scale Responsible Fisheries Union takes strong objections to the recent comments on Nauxim Marina uttered by North Goa MP Shripad Naik who is also Union Minister of State for Shipping, Ports and Inland Waterways.

Video clip posted on Facebook of North Goa member of Parliament advocating Marina in Nauxim needs our attention. Naik argues that in order to generate employment Marina is needed in Nauxim.

What North Goa MP has missed is the current employment scenario at the same spot in Nauxim due to Fisheries. Almost 95 per cent of Nauxim village is employed in gillnet fishing. 

Statement proves that North Goa MP is totally ignorant of local situation in Nauxim and shooting baseless statements instead of visiting Nauxim and getting first hand information.

We invite Mr. Naik to conduct site visit to Nauxim and also affected villages  nearby including Cacra and Odxel that are termed as inhabitants Shudras in AHOY Marina draft EIA report circulated by Goa State Pollution Control Board.

Shaila D'Mello


Laximan Mangueshkar


Thursday 26 October 2023

Welcome to Marina? My Foot!

 Welcome to Marina? My Foot!

Critique of "Marinache Swagat vyhave!" (Marina must be welcome!) in October 21, 2023 edition

And when Journalist turns corporate peddler consequences are blatant as the editorial of 21 October 2023 in Marathi daily published from Goa: Gomantak. Editorial has been reduced by its editor Raju Nayak to peddle same ideas that another former editor of Herald and Gomantak Times attempted few years ago: Ashwin Tombat. Their writings are at the cross roads in Crotia and Marinas in this tiny European country. We respect Crotians fondly for their legacy in Gaudalim village of Goa but advocacy of  transplantation of their marina experience is absurd. 

Both Raju Nayak now and Ashwin Tombat earlier are wearing terrible biased and prejudiced spectacles to spin out their master's voice. Both of then has opted to ignore not only current fishing status of people of Nauxim but also guarantee of "long term negative irreversible impact" on fishing in chapter five of AHOY Marina.

Raju Nayak celebrates the fact that Expert Appraisal Committee of MOEF & CC has done away with the very need for Environmental Clearance. This hardly a cause for celebration unless one is acclaimed sadist who rejoices at complete destruction of important portion of Goa's Fisheries sector and cultural genocide of people of Nauxim village. It's transformation of Tribal fishing village into gambling sinful den.

One can lead ignorant to the light of wisdom but none can prevent the knowledgeable moving towards intellectual suicide. And so we can do nothing about Raju Nayak except wish him safe journey into the deeper ditch while we keep perenial watch on him from all sides.

Those who genuinely wish to know factual basis for opposing Marina for more than past dozen years they are invited to take online tour at

Nauxim village is already under severe pressure from loss of mountainous land to Aldeia de Goa inhabited by economically powerful elements. One doesn't require ricket science to understand involvement of descion making bodies at various strata of governance from Panchayat to Town and Country Planning Department. After stealing of land what attempted stealing of waters of Zuari: the blue grab. It's brigadands are captained by Editors habitual to peddling of corporate driven ideas. Raju Nayak and Ashwin Tombat are just two of them and we shall wait for more to come on the prowl. In the meanwhile let's be ready with smoke and incense to welcome them!

Dr. S.A. Rodrigues

Saturday 21 October 2023

Notes on Land Aquisition notice for IIT Goa

South Goa Collector Asvin Chandru A., IAS issued public notice on 11 October 2023 to acquire 10,51,618 m² of land in Sanguem taluka's Rivona village consisting of survey numbers 168/1 (6,27,703 m²), 169/1 (3,79,500 m²), 169/2 (11,315 m²), 169/3 (33,100 m²). The reason to acquire this land given is to set up permanent campus of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) that was sanctioned to Goa half a decade ago.

To whom does this land belong to in Rivona as per form I & XIV Form? What is the current landuse there?

Currently IIT functions at Famagudi with shared campus of Goa College of Engineering. 

Additionally Goa ready has huge campus of Birla Institute of Technology at Pilani, Rajasthan.

Goa University on the other hand is spiral low spree in its standard with sliding down in its ranking from A to B. Corruption has skyrocketed with pace of Chamdrayan to the moon under current Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and Registrar.

Primary education has taken nasty blows with collapse of school infrastructure. Devidas Gaonkar, a journalist from Khotigao has been filing repeated stories in media.

Government of Goa ascwell as Government of India is supervising Goa's educational crisis. 

In the middle of all thus we get to know that priority has taken by permanent campus to IIT Goa.

Time has arrived comprehensive evaluation of educational situation in Goa notwithstanding enforcement of New Educational Policy. It's time to critically asses as to what extent education system in Goa - technical and non-technical is in the interest of Goa and to what extent it is in is promoted by vested interests. 

Primary issue at stake is two fold: Land and Education. Whose land? For whose education? IIT Goa controversy that is raging for almost half a decade has to be placed in this context. Each educational institution must be audited to check as to how it has served interest of Goa and to what extent. This involves marked departure, a paradigm shift.

Regarding proposed permanent campus of IIT Goa at Rivona local people's views are important to respect inspite of Collector's dietary on Land Acquisition. 

Rivona Panchayat Jurisdiction has large number of mining eases granted by Portugues government due to prevalent of mineral deposits in the village. Proposed IIT Campus in Rivona will have to face this reality. Or it may even happened that IIT Campus might start digging ore in-house or even turn the campus into mining pit in national or public interest for we are in situation when impossible is I m possible!

Dr. S.A. Rodrigues

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Goa Fishing to be shut down for the sake of National Games?

According to the received reports at 11.40 am today 17 October 2023 State Government through Captain of Ports is attempting to shut down fishing activities in Arabian Sea being operated by traditional gillnet fishermen from Vaiginim beach where Taj operated Cidade de Goa five star hotel is located.

National Games in Goa are to begin shortly and to last for 20 days  and if the plans of State Government materializes then fishermen and our families will be rendered with snatched livelihoods for 20 days or may be even forever should Tatas conquer Vaiginim Beach.

What is even more scary is that office of Captain of Ports is asking the fishermen to clean up the beach of canoes. This is indeed nightmarish situation. 

All Goa Small Scale Responsible Fisheries strongly condemns attempts to shut down fishing activities of small scale fishers of Arabian Sea and Zuari river and calls upon Goa Government to refrain from embarking on such suicidal adventure. 

Earlier during G-20 meeting similar attempt to clear the beach of fishing canoes was made directly by Taj administered Cidade de Goa few months ago. Fishermen had strongly resisted these moves of Tatas that time and carried in their fishing activities with normal course.

The memories of attacks on fishermen in Morjim beach through demolitions and Cacra Beach through mischievous fires during past few months are fresh and the All Goa Small Scale Responsible Fisheries Union condemns clandastine ant-fisher policies being manifested through Captain of Ports and other State agencies.

Similarly Kalinganagar massacre by Tatas against mylnivasi people has dark presence in Indian History. It's best that Tata avoid playing around lives and livelihoods of FIshing communities in Goa.

Also read

Also read an Article by Amita Kanekar below

Friday 6 October 2023

Do you feel that fish farmed through aquaculture is as good as wild caught fish?

 "Do you feel that fish farmed through aquaculture is as good as wild caught fish?"

Ethics and Political Agenda of Goa Chief Minister Research program in Fisheries

This is a question number 4 of the Fisheries online survey currently being carried by Abigail Fernandes Research Fellow in Goa Chief Minister's team at the links 

Glance at the nature of questions framed signals that State Government is attempting to manufacture consent to go ahead enforcing industrialization of Goa's rivers that were taken over by Central Government without anyone in Goa being consulted except then Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar who betrayed Goa through his clandestine consent to declare six rivers of Goa as National Waterways in 2016.

However fishing communities continued fight back even after Goa Forward betrayed through their U-turn stand on National Waterways issue. From 2006 till 2023 there were various attempts to brainwash people of Goa and surrender rivers for its industrial destruction.

Abigail Fernandes as skilled researcher has joined CM's team. Crisis is not in her skill but in ethics including agenda of this research. She has been ably facilitated in this venture by Director of Fisheries Deepesh Priolkar through his official letter no. DF/ADMN/GCMFP/2023-24/3095 dated 12/09/2023 to various Fisheries organisations and Societies as well as two Deans from Goa University namely Dean, School of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, and Dean, School of Biological Sciences and Bio-technology. Copy of the letter is also marked to Director of Planning and Statistics & Evaluation.

One point program of the CM's research agenda is to drive ahead Cage fishing (form of aquaculture) at large scale in Goa. Goa Government as well as Central Government has framed number of funding schemes in this direction. The political agenda has remained constant from 2016 to 2023: expulsion of fishers from the rivers. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari used to visit Goa in 2015-16 and exhort fishermen in Zuari to give up gillnet fishing and go for trawling in seas. He used to say this in order to empty Zuari river of all small-scale fishers so that Marinas at Nauxim and Sancoale can be installed. These Marinas that were planned in 2010 hasn't materialized and Coastal ecology is still intact without such industrialization due fundamental objections on fishing grounds. 

Fishing within 12 naitical miles is State subject under the Constitution of India. Even if Goa's rivers are declared as National Waterways it has no Jurisdiction to inflict damage on Fisheries in any state. Manohar Parrikar during his last stint as Chief Minister of Goa got various MoUs signed between Captain of Ports and Inland Waterways Authority of India. Dredging of rivers is major objection of fishers followed by shrinking fishing spaces. He attempted to dualogue with groups of people on December 11, 2017 but could not answer questions from Maggie Silveira, then President of Bharat Mukti Morcha, Goa Unit on the decision making process involving Goa's six rivers as National Waterways. Parrikar simply stated that itbis like Goa Liberation of 1961 and Government of India doesn't require to consult anyone before passing any laws in Parliament of India. Maggie then questioned him back as to what is the use of calling India a democracy. Parrikar then quickly said that now meeting is closed. Yet dissent on Goa's rivers as National Waterways has continued.

State and Central governments in India -largely controlled by corporate and industrial interests - have promoted large scale funds towards aquaculture.

Directorate of Fisheries had granted permision fie Cage fishing on Divar island to one industrial enterprise named Champions Island. RTI query with Goltim-Navelim Panchayat had no data on species of fish farmed through cages. Later on others revealed that permision for Cage fishing was only an alibi to get access to tourism boats for water sports. Champions Island in the name of Cage fishing wentbon to destroy Mangroves, dredge the river and destroyed fertile fish breeding spaces. This has disrupted fishing activities and authorities such as local Panchayat of Goltim-Navelim, North Goa Collector, MLA, Director of Fisheries as well as Chief Minister has neglected. On the contrary there is massive promotion of illegal sand mining at night in Mandovi as well as water sports that has negatively affected small scale fishing in Mandovi.

Instead of protecting fishers and rivers Goa Government is pursuing industrial agenda on rivers. This is not only unfortunate but lethal to small scale Fisheries.

Now let's turn to question no. 4 for some reflection. Question reads "Do you feel that fish farmed through aquaculture is as good as wild caught fish?"

The feeling focus is noteworthy. What research aims through this question is collection of peoples feelings. Is this question already not well settled scientifically? But than resorting to science would mean departure from feelings into the world of thinking. This research is therefore research into collection of feelings. Intellectually this is shallow exercise.

Fish farmed through aquaculture has variety of connotations in different parts of India. Internationally we just witnessed  conclusion of the year of Artisanal Fisheries and aquaculture under FAO. However for Goa river context this is problematic. More so because farming of fish involves confining fish in particular spot and feeding with all kinds of things, increasing vulnerabilities including high risk of specie escapes. Aquaculture was prevalent in Goa's traditional salt pans "Agors", "poim" and flourished without intensive chemical inputs. Prawn farms on the banks of Sal river is another variety that had shut salt pans down.

What is the matter of concern here however is Cage fishing in rivers at juncture in time when Goa's rivers are declared as National Waterways and Corporates are eager to takeover our rivers gor interests as divers as tourism, mining and other purposes such as coal transportation. MOEF & CC Expert Appraisal Committee was approached by Inland Waterways Authority of India on behalf of some 228 mining barges from Goa to dredge mandovi, Cumbharjua and Zuari rivers by organising proper Public Hearings. State Government took the route of constructing floating Jetties to avoid Public Hearing.

Question assumes that wild caught fish is good. Issue sought to be posed is whether farm fish is as good too. Let's deal with this matter this way. Is life for human in prison is as good as life in freedom? One has to be some degree of sadist even to imagine such a question. One has to be morally deformed to answer that life in prison is as good as free life outside. What this question aims is to condition us to say farm fish is as good as wild caught fish brushing aside pertinent ethical issues. Issue of freedom is central in these discourses and surely point is driven home.  It has also been observed on 05 October 2023 evening at around 6.15 pm that digital option to respond negatively was disabled on website and it was enabled only after complaint was lodged with Abigail Fernandes by fishermen Roque Menezes. Fernandes responded with attempted cover up statement that touch of fisherman wasn't on check box and negative option is enabled. So basically research discourges negative feedback from general public by resorting to digital chicanery. This is like whichever party you vote in EVM BJP gets them on their account! This raises questions on credibility of this research enterprise and intellectual honestly of the researcher.

Few years back there were attempts to uproot stake fishing in the middle of rivers in Goa. This was resisted too by various groups of fishing communities. Fishers has fought tooth and nail against every attempt to safeguard Goa's rivers. Latest attempt is rather soft involving research and lure of money to confine fishing c9mmunities into cages. Research is checking out awareness on various schemes related to Fisheries in Goa. What is surprising is that research has taken online route rather than direct meetings with fishing communities and recording fishers responses manually. Anyway that's researcher headache what is our studied concern is ethics of the research being pursued to tailor suit particular political agenda of the corporate and industry interests.

There are several research areas that one can pursue in Goa's river connected Fisheries. What needs attention is ethics and politics underlying research agenda. This note is contribution in this regard.