Mining traffic needs to be better organised
These days one cannot keep mining and controversy out of the same sentence. The ‘M’ word has clearly divided Goans into two zones - those who profit from it and those who hate it. The Curchorem imbroglio was no different. It took hundreds of protestors to come to Margao and demonstrate their plight to the Chief Minister, who had to finally (yet again) bow down to people’s demand. This time the issue was whether the government should create a bypass for transporting mineral laden trucks or to widen the existing road into a four-lane one. Cudchadkars were of the opinion, and rightly so, that if the existing road got widened, then the proposed bypass would not see the light of the day - at least during the tenure of this government. One of them remarked “imagine if we park a 100 trucks in Panaji with a few mining excavation machinery thrown in and watch the fun!”
Why doesn’t Goa wish to look what is happening in these far flung towns? Rumour has it that mining companies have to pay off the entire town or village to conduct their activities. Be that as it may, but one cannot wish away the traffic congestion and commotion that mining trucks cause to the areas that they ply on, not to mention the pollution they create with dust settling inside everyone’s homes and god forbid, lungs. I personally faced a rather onerous task of travelling to Zambaulim recently, which is 5 kilometres fom Quepem en route to Rivona. Half the road was blocked with mining trucks and one couldn’t drive comfortably with vehicles on both sides struggling to accommodate whatever piece of road was left to us.
If mining brings grist to the mill for the government exchequer (and it better be), then the State should ensure that the transportation of mining material should not disturb other wayfarers. Why should the aam aadmi suffer for an economic activity of a select few? Why can’t the government and stakeholders put systems in place so that their businesses do not adversely impact common citizens? Every other day one reads of lives lost, especially by motorcycle riders, in the mining belt, killed or maimed by the trucks that are in a hurry to make the next trip.
It is sad to note that currently the happiness index of every common man in these areas is lower than what the Sensex is hovering at. And who do you think is to be blamed for this, but people themselves?! How often do you see good questions asked by the people for issues that are really burning? What do you make of the quality of debate in our legislative assembly? If one had to hear questions being asked to the speakers at the recently concluded Kosambi Festival of Ideas, you would realise the utter lack of grey matter in the crowd, at least the questioning ones.
Come on, let us up our game and ask the right questions. Cudchadkars have shown us that intelligent forms of protest can get the government to listen up.
There is something fishy in the veggies
This was waiting to happen. An unruly mob of about 350 vegetable traders in Belgaum gheraoed the vegetable supply depot there and destroyed almost 130 tonnes of vegetables worth about Rs 35 lakh awaiting transportation to Goa. This is understood to be a backlash to the subsidised and low-priced vegetables that were distributed by Goa State Horticultural Development Corporation, back here. One round at our local market and you can hardly see a Goan vendor. Our local vegetable sellers have been relegated to the corners and the plum selling points are with the non-Goan veggie vendor, who seemed to have got the short end of the stick and incited the violence to keep his bottomline in place.