Bhahujan Mukti Party (BMP) strongly condemns the mining companies responsible for morcha of around 300 people at the residence of Ramesh Gauns, a national best teacher awardee as well as Goa best teacher awardee. The mining company mobilized workers in order to pressure Ramesh Gauns to give up his opposition to mining industry and organized morcha on Sunday, 24th November 2013 at a time when Ramesh Gauns was miles away from home. Ramesh Gauns played important role in research and its sharing to public around illegalities in mining industry in Goa. He played a role of Public Intellectual.
According to sources the morcha was led by one person from Lamgao, Bicholim with std VIII as his educational qualification for whom Sesa Goa mining company has appointed as their officer. Sesa Goa is owned by Vendanta and listed on London stock exchange and also owns Dempo mines. 300 people came towards Ramesh Gauns’ residence but were blocked by nearly 50 policemen present on the site. Most of them were employees of Sesa Goa mining company as per information received. After reaching the residence of Ramesh Gauns nearly 230 workers withdrew from the protest as they supported Ramesh Gauns’ opposition to mining industry. Remaining 70 workers then were horded to nearby Shivaji maidan and public meeting against Ramesh Gauns took place. Some workers from this section later on met Ramesh Gauns and informed him that they too support him in his opposition to mining but due to the pressure from the management of Sesa Goa mining company they are compelled to participate in this protest against their will as worker are threatened to be dismissed from the job if they do not participate in the protests against Ramesh Gauns. This kind of attention to Ramesh Gauns by Sesa Goa has turned him into much bigger in stature. The protest in front of his residence followed by public meeting at Shivaji Maidan has proved to be right manure to push him to grow even mightier and powerful. Hats off to Ramesh Gauns. BPM salutes your work and offers every possible support. More than 50% of Goa is destroyed by mining companies and with commitment of people like you this has come to stop and Goa is saved. Mining induced traffic in Mandovi, Zuari and Arabian Sea was causing tar ball on Goa’s beaches turning them into black. By stopping mining industry Goa’s tourism is protected or let’s imagines what would be Goa with black beaches! Tourism doom! Ramesh Gauns has contributed tremendously to Goa and he is happy to received protest at his residence by mining companies as his medal much precious than the one he received from the hands of the President of India on Republic Day for teaching with excellence in Sarvona, Bicholim.
Lake of Lamgao, Bicholim is reportedly polluted due to mining silt and the villagers are protesting against the same; have even petitioned the State Government accusing Sesa Goa as responsible for the same. Sesa Goa mining company hopes to take over 17 hectares of land in Lamgao that is part of mining lease. However in order to achieve this Sesa Goa has to evict the Lamgao villagers. If villagers does not vacate the village then Sesa Goa’s hopes of further prosperity is very gloomy. These very villagers however have complaint to various government authorities about the pollution of the Lamgao lake due to mining carried out by Sesa Goa.
BMP congratulates Goa Police for timely action in preventing the protestors from causing any harm to the life and property at the residence of Ramesh Gauns. No terror tactics are going to be effective against Ramesh Gauns. BMP strongly commits its support to Ramesh Gauns.
Investigations has revealed that the morcha was carried on to demoralize Ramesh Gauns so that he can be stopped in his out spoken stance against mining industry that has caused enormous harm to agriculture, Forest, traffic, flora and fauna, water bodies, human health and habitation of Goa. The excuse given by the agitators that Ramesh Gauns is involved in cutting down of trees is false. The only tree that was cut is behind his house bordering soak pit and that too is not cut by Ramesh Gauns but by his brother. The land on which the tree stood is not in the name of Ramesh Gauns in form I & XIV. His brother completed the necessary formalities with forest department about the same.
Bhahujan Mukti Party also takes serious note of the intimidating tactics used agents of mining companies against journalists for providing publicity to Ramesh Gauns and his critical remarks about mining industry.
If the 300 hundred people came forward in order to protest one tree cut down that too legally and created media hype that Ramesh Gauns is cutting trees then how many morchas these people will have to organize in front of mining companies who has not only cut down large patches of western ghats forest but also slashed down the mountains and shipped them to Japan, China, etc? These people must organize protests every day in from of every mining company’s every office across the State of Goa.
The real culprits behind the scenes are the banks who have loaned finances to mining activities in the form of trucks; barges etc and put the large amount of people in difficult situation – the people who today are calling themselves mining dependents. The only solution to come of this is to cancel the loans. The ruling political parties will have to do this in the State of Goa and set the mining affected people free from every hardship of loan repayment. It is time that public protests now must be directed against the banks involved in financing mining industry. There is also the need for an audit to calculate as to how many jobs are lost in agriculture and horticulture over the past 50 years in Bicholim, Sattari, Sanguem, Dhabandora, Ponda and Quepem due to mining and how many are generated due to shutting down of mines for the past one year.
Mining has destroyed hinterland of land and it is only now that the mining is shut down for a year that Goa’s hinterland is gaining new life and agriculture is being revived and water bodies are flowing and air is breathable and fresh.
BMP is against operation of any mining activity in Goa by private mining companies. Mining must be nationalized and allowed with restrictions. The assets of the mining companies – movable as well as immovable - must be confiscated and auctioned in order to recover 35,000 crore rupees siphoned off as per Shah Commission report presented in Indian Parliament.
In the meanwhile BMP has taken serious note of the threats to disrupt the marriage ceremony of Ramesh Gauns’ son scheduled on December 8, 2013 in Sankhelim, Goa. If mining companies succeed in disrupting the marriage ceremony then it will be only under the instruction of the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who is also the Home Minister whose utterances on Ramesh Gauns so far at best cab be described as irresponsible (Environmentalists are cutting down trees and they are using cars). In that case it would mean that Chief Minister himself is involved in creating Law and Order problem and therefore will render himself unfit to rule Goa even for a minute after the marriage ceremony is disrupted. In that case BMP will urge President of India to dismiss the Goa government and impose President’s rule under the Article 356 of the Constitution of India.
Cliffton de Souza
Bhahujan Mukti Party