The ecology-economy debate polarises communities
Rivona: What meets the eye“Welcome to the state of mines,” greets Raju Nayak, as we flew into Goa in the last week of September. Goa's mining sector was brought to a grinding halt by orders of the state government. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests followed suit by suspending mining leases.CSE's first media briefing for rural and small town journalists was organised against this backdrop. Thirty reporters from Marathi, Kannada and Konkani language media came together for a two-day meet to discuss mining, forests and coasts—and how to report on them. We bring you vignettes from the trip.Rivona was our venue. The first impression as we drive through smooth narrow roads to this village in south Goa: all is at peace. Photographer: Papia Samajdar
A bleak future "Once upon a time, Goa looked like a green carpet from the air," says our driver Subhash, a Goan. "Now, it appears like a red open wound, untended, left to rot!" In a Goa which is so scarred already, can mining ever be done sustainably? Can the state undo its past and make a fresh start, or is it too late?Photographer: Papia Samajdar
An alternate ecosystemMiners plant fast-growing, invasive acacia trees and call it reclamation. The 10-years-old mine dump stood in place of the once lush green natural forests. Photographer: Papia Samajdar
GatewayThe scenery is punctuated with mining trucks, lined up like monsters put to rest. Slumbering giants waiting to come alive at short notice. Rivona is in the heart of Goa's mining zone.Photographer: Papia Samajdar
Poisoned source"Nowhere else is mining allowed on such rampant scale so close to a major water source," says Richard Mahapatra. The bleeding earth leaching into the reservoir which supplies 55 per cent of Goa's drinking water.Photographer: Papia Samajdar
Fallout zone—in another decade"At the current rate of mining, mineral deposits will be exhausted in nine years—what will happen after that?" asks Claude Alvarez of Goa Foundation. Photographer: Papia Samajdar
Held hostageBlockade by angry villagers dependent on mining. They are not rich mine owners or mining contractors, but merely transporters and truckers.Mining in Goa scaled up during China Olympics. China had the technology, we had greed!Photographer: Papia Samajdar
Gaps in the greensWe decide to see things for ourselves. A field trip to Salaulim reservoir, through the Netravali wildlife sanctuary, leads us to massive tracts cratered by mining.Photographer: Papia Samajdar
The other side"Give us your viewpoint, and we shall write, we shall present your side of the story," urges Raju Nayak, editor of Lokmat in Goa. An angry protestor screeches, "Look what is happening to the people of Goa!"Photographer: Papia Samajdar
Red flows A leaking pipe spurts contaminated water. Forest area has been cleared to accommodate trucks. The destruction and the extent of it starts to close in on us.Photographer: Papia Samajdar
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