Chief Minister Digambar Kamat on Thursday directed the Mines Department to act and the Department in turn promised to take action against the errant mine owner operating the mine in Cavrem after villagers first marched to the Chief Minister’s residence and later to the Indian Bureau of Mines office at Arlem.
Around 20 residents of Cavrem including many women who belong to the Velip community on Thursday morning converged at Digambar Kamat’s residence at Margao and reminded him that he had not honoured his promise made three months earlier to inspect the illegal mining in their village.
Digambar immediately called up the Director of Mines and asked him to act upon the matter and take necessary steps to redress the people’s grievances.
Cavrem village inhabited largely by the backward Velip community is totally dependent upon agriculture with the farmers cultivating various crops like chillies, melons, beans, besides paddy.
Around two years back, suddenly mining activity began in their village on a hill called Devapan hill which is the source of many a spring that irrigate the village and their farming activities. Due to the mining activity some of the springs are adversely affected as the flow of water has reduced, while some have totally dried up.
This particular mine apparently does not even have the required licenses and permits and that is the reason why an inspection was promised that never materialized.
Nilesh Gaonkar from Cavrem revealed that agricultural produce in the village has dropped and warned that if the mining activity is not stopped, then the villagers may have to shift to some other place as even their drinking water sources will be destroyed.
The villagers then walked to the Indian Bureau of Mines office at Arlem and submitted a memorandum to the officers there, who promised to act within a week, failing which the villagers disclosed they would launch an agitation till the mining activity is totally stopped.