22 Jul 2021  |   05:18am IST

People-friendly mining order emboldens other movements for a sustainable Goa

Does the decision by the Supreme Court ordering mining barons to leave the State’s resources alone provide a boost to the people’s movements in the State. It is important to fight issues on the street but one has to also be a smart and patient player in court. People in Goa voiced
People-friendly mining order emboldens other movements for a sustainable Goa

Ajit John

Given the Supreme Court order today regarding mining in Goa, the Amche Mollem campaign, composed of citizens of the state, feels a renewed commitment given that Goa’s land and resources are under siege. The judgement confirms that it is the people of Goa who should benefit from their lands, forests and waters, not private companies.

We remember the Bombay High Court order today: “This is an extraordinary state...a place where, perhaps more than anywhere else, sky, sea and earth meet. Its greatest asset is one: its environment and its ecology.” We remember that our past vision and future hopes are shaped by important cultural and ecological sites such as Dudhsagar Waterfall and Tambdi Surla temple. In 1932, as Goans we were denied basic rights of speech, In the Pandemic, we find ourselves in a similar situation. We pledge to speak for the forests of Mollem and will stand together for Goa. The name of Goa’s largest protected area reminds us of the teachings of non-violence and protection to all forms of life. We stand firm in our cause for the true liberation and love for Goa and her forests and we are confident that the Supreme Court will stand on the side of the people of Goa once again when our case is heard.

Satyamev Jayate. Viva Goa.

- Team Amchem Molem

Our faith in the judiciary is now restored with this landmark order. This also means a super victory to all of us Goans thanks to the relentless efforts of adv Norma Alvares, Claude Alvares and the Goa foundation team. We can now be hopeful that the judiciary will not take lightly any violation vis a vis the destruction of Goa's pristine environment. This also proves to be a beacon to many environmentalists in Goa to petition and take recourse within the provisions of the judiciary to bring the violators to the fore and make them accountable to the environmental damage caused to Goa's environment

- Tallulah D'silva,

Architect

3 things I pick up from the landmark judgement by SC:

1. We the people of India can still trust in the Judiciary and know they will not allow our Constitution to be sabotaged.

2. We the people of Goa are the real heirs of our natural resources of Land, water and future full of forests and when we sincerely fight to protect them final win is ours.

3. The Governments of Goa (present as well as erstwhile) have terribly failed and fooled its people especially the mining dependents of Goa.

I passionately hope that the SC will further usher us into a new sustainable mining policy under the expertise of Goa Foundation.

- Dr Fr Bolmax Pereira,

Asst Prof of Botany at St Joseph Vaz College, Cortalim

Very happy to learn about the Supreme Court judgement in the Heraldo which is against mining barons and both Congress and BJP Govts. They have cheated the people of Goa all these years and become rich at our cost. Dr. Claude Alvares and Goa Foundation should be honoured on Independence Day, for the battle they fought since 2015. We are indebted to them.

- Rui Costa Araujo,

Chairman, BMC Chicalim

I am happy to get this news on the occasion of our Eid festival. And I feel emboldened to keep the fight going on along with all the green activists of Goa. Now I know this government and the greedy corporations cannot tire us. Courts will come to our rescue if we are genuine.

- Sabira Shaikh,

Student, St Joseph Vaz College, Cortalim

The 73rd and 74th amendments to the constitution puts planning as a participatory process. And while the different agencies of governance may not be ready for this process the people of the state are aware of their duties and will continue to be vocal and participate with vigour and due diligence. The state Govt should be proud of its populace that is employing its high literacy rate effectively and constructively to secure a sustainable future for their progeny.

- Poonam Mascarenhas,

Honorary Secretary and Co-founding member of Goa Heritage

Yes I do believe strongly in the idea of judicial activism. Infact we at the Goa Heritage Action Group have moved the court on several heritage issues including the scrapping of the Draconian Regional Plan 2011. The court has always been the last resort of all environmental historical Heritage issues. We at the Mhadei Bachao Abhiyan has moved the Supreme court. Intervention by the courts is very important n decisive in most matters. Yes andolans on streets are a necessary form of protest but knowking at the doors of the court is equally necessary especially when we need to bring a stay order on an illegal construction. PILs are a great necessity. We have moved the court in the case of the Coconut amendment and won through the judiciary. I welcome the decision of the Supreme court regarding the mining magnates.

- Prajal Sakhardande,

Academician

This restores our faith in the judiciary and our own confidence in the fact that finally truth shall prevail. We congratulate the Goa Foundation and it's legal team. This is not just their victory. It's a victory for all of Goa, for Goa's natural heritage.

- Heta Pandit,

Heritage Activist

In some cases people don’t work hard. It took us twenty years. Sometimes you spend all those years fighting and still not get anything. One result is that people in Goa feel they have won something. They don’t know what they have won but there is that feeling. People also won when the hearings on coastal zones were cancelled on March 7. All I can say is that if people are determined and they have an interest that is free of any personal interest and only good for the public then there is a chance they will be able to get their point across.

- Claude Alvares,

Environmentalist, Goa Foundation

Yes in a way it has. This is in a different context of course. The leases were renewed on the eve of the ordinance the mining was to be auctioned. They were renewed to almost beat the law. So you can say the people’s movement groups will get some boost. They will be motivated in a way. They will have to use public pressure that is important. The law does not always work. Yes, in this instance the mining lobby was beaten but you can see several constructions in CRZ areas. And nothing can be done because they have beaten the law. The groups will have to operate smartly.

- Cleofato Coutinho,

Legal luminary

The CZMP issue showed that coming on the streets is no use so also in this mining case. If a decision is required based on interpretation of law only the courts can help. But approaching courts is a costly and time consuming process. The Government should study these judgements and going forward act proactively to avoid forcing civilians to approach courts for justice. Justice should come from the Government, because laws are made by them.

- Blaise Costabir,

Entrepreneur

The order showcases the power of peoples movements in public policy to build equity in the unwarranted environment vs industry. The children of humans and wildlife as well future generations will venerate this effort in sustaining Goa’s fragile ecology

- Sarita Fernandes,

Managing Trustee, Morjim Sea Turtle Trust and C.A.P.A.N.

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