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18 Mar 2018 06:46am IST

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18 Mar 2018 06:46am IST

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With the end of day on March 15, the mining activities in the State came to a grinding halt following a Supreme Court decision to strike off all renewals. The decision, however, has come as a worst nightmare for the mining dependents and people in the belt blame both successive governments and the “greedy” mine owners. SURAJ NANDREKAR and GAURANG PRABHU visit the mining affected areas of Sanvordem, Curchorem and Sanguem to find out more…

It’s 3.00 pm on Kirlapal-Dabal road a lady in her 40s, maybe, is selling fruits by the side of the road mostly choked by the mining trucks.

Even as she is selling fruits like banana, apple, and oranges, Tulshi Shrikant Gaonkar, from Sanvordem seemed worried about what will happen of her family from tomorrow.

“We are totally dependent on mining. My husband works as labourer in mining company and I sell fruits here. But from tomorrow neither he will have any job nor I will have any customers as his road is only frequented by the mining workers and the truck drivers,” Tulshi told Herald.

She said they managed with one meal from 2012 to 2015 and the ghost has now come back to haunt them.  

“We have been badly hit last time in 2012 it was difficult to get two meals a day. Literally my family starved,” she says adding “she does not know what to do as she has two kids to feed”.

Another person indirectly connected to mining Ajay Shankaran, from Kirlapal, Sanvordem is a tire service centre and has about 10 laborers.

“The mining has now closed down and I don’t know what I will do with my family and my workers. My customers are only trucks and vehicles involved in mining. We have no other option,” says Ajay. 

Similarly, Satyawan Gaonkar, hotel owner in Savaragal says people are really affected. The Supreme Court has not taken into consideration what will happen to common people like us.

“We are totally dependent on mining. Our hotel works on mining, if there is no mining, we get no customers. We don’t know when mining will resume again,” he says. 

Baburao Naik, Sanvordem, a transporter says,

“In 2012 we faced this and again we have to go through this. Truck owners, garage, spare parts, Sanvordem bazaar, everything came to standstill. People toiled hard over the last five years. But the same has come now back to haunt us,” he adds.

For the people in the mining areas this is like  lightning has struck the same place twice and don’t know what to do and feel helpless.

They also feel the mining companies will lose nothing as they have made enough in the decades of extraction and transportation and it is only the dependents who will suffer.

While there were many who were disappointed and dejected by the ban, there also people who feel this ban was long overdue.

“Feel sorry for people dependent on mining but the SC order was not totally wrong,” says Adv Adv Amar Naik, Kashti, Kalem.

He says there was total chaos in mining belts with no control on transportation, extraction and the pollution. 

“There was no timing for transportation, the roads are choked by mining trucks. Police and RTO or traffic police take no action against the rash and negligent driving by the truckers,” he said.

Adv Naik slammed the politicians who are working hard to resume mining.

“It is made to look that nothing except for mining works. Government should consider everyone and not only mining. The pollution is causing lot of health hazards. Hundreds of childrens have lost their lives due to accidents..who will think about that?” he asked.

Anil Sawant Desai a Teacher, from Sanguem feels mining has closed down due to government ignorance and the hunger of mine owners as no system was followed.

“The mine is a natural resource. SC order is really good. There is no capping on trucks People can’t walk on road, kids can’t go to school, old people can’t go to doctor,” he said.

He questioned has anyone given a thought  what happens to people other than mining dependents. 

“If system is followed everything will fall in place. Our locality, Sanvordem, Sanguem and Curchorem has contributed thousands of crores of royalty to the government treasury but nothing has been done to develop the mining belt here. The money instead is utilised to develop towns ,” he says.
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