Goa Iron Ore Permanent fund demand gets strength after Rev Filipe Neri Ferrao’s call for preserving land for future generations; We have won half the battle, says Claude Alvares
PANJIM: Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Rev Filipe Neri Ferrao’s endorsement of the “principle of inter-generational equity”, which the Supreme Court emphasised in its order related to illegal iron ore mining case, has been welcomed across society. It has also encouraged the ‘Goenchi Mati Movement’ (GMM), backed by leading non-government organisation Goa Foundation as well as several prominent Goans including four Padmashree Awardees (See box Pg 12 >> )
The Goenchi Mati Movement launched ahead of State Assembly elections 2017, has called on all political parties to protect our children’s inheritance. In its ‘manifesto’, which it asked all right thinking parties to adopt, the GMM has categorically focused on “we, the people of Goa own the mineral in common. As we have inherited the minerals, we are simply custodians and must pass them on to future generations (Intergenerational Equity)”. This was exactly the sentiment of Archbishop Rev Filippe Neri Ferrao, in his annual Christmas civic reception address.
The Apex Court in its judgment in April 2014 related to illegal mining in Goa, referred to as the Goa mining case judgment of Writ petition 435/1, had directed State government to set-aside 10 percent of the total value earned from e-auction of iron ore for the Goan Iron Ore Permanent Fund (GIOPF), for the purpose of sustainable development and inter-generational equity.
The same has been now endorsed by the Archbishop in his speech on Wednesday evening during the customary reception on the occasion of Christmas.
“We are trustees of our land holdings. It is our solemn duty to ensure that the value of the land is passed on to our children and future generations. Only then may we enjoy the fruits, shared equally. All generations and all within a generation would benefit equally. This would truly embody the central message of most religions, treat others as you would want to be treated yourself,” he said.
Reacting to the same, Goa Foundation director and member of GMM, Dr Claude Alvares said that the support by Archbishop has come as a great news to us, thus encouraging our movement for intergenerational equity.
“We are extremely delighted that such a senior functionary like Archbishop has come out in support of intergenerational equity. We feel like winning half the battle. With this, more and more people would be now part of our movement,” he said adding ‘our public interest litigation in the Supreme Court on illegal mining was completely based on this very fact that we are the owners of the mineral and that we have to preserve it for future generation’.
Alvares said that Goenchi Mati manifesto proposes a model for mining that protects the rights of the children and of the future generations of Goa. It also dramatically reduces the potential for looting that is associated with mining, which has caused tremendous environmental, economic and social damage and corrupted several sectors in Goa. “This is a unique opportunity that must not be frittered away,” he added.