Contrary to Chief Minister Digambar Kamat’s claim that his government is for the common man, his administration, namely the South Goa Magistrate has issued an order aimed at helping mining companies and totally against the demand of the masses.
It may be recalled that for around two weeks, residents of Caurem village were demanding that the mining companies adhere to the circular issued on 17th March laying down certain conditions vis-à-vis the mining activity.
The villagers were specifically demanding that the time allotted for transportation of ore be adhered to as they complained that this was being violated. As the authorities were not implementing the government order, on 12th April the villagers stopped ore laden trucks that were plying way beyond the specified time.
The 17th March order specified that ore laden trucks would ply between 8:00 am to 4:00 pm with a lunch break between 12:30 noon to 2:00 pm. However, trucks were found plying even in the night and on 13th April the villagers stopped some trucks.
On 23rd April a strong contingent of police descended upon the village early morning and after arresting nearly 90 villagers permitted the trucks to ply.
And if that action was not sufficient, the South Goa District Magistrate has now issued an order with retrospective effect relaxing the timings for movement of ore laden trucks. As per the new order, the trucks can now ply between 6:00 am to 6:00 without any lunch break.
This means that the mining companies can now transport their ore without any restriction for 12 hours and the people living along the route will have to bear the noise and dust pollution through the day with no respite even to have their lunch or siesta.
Ironically, the order is effective from 21st April probably to justify the police action of 23rd April and is valid till 31st May with the reason given that schools are on vacations and people will not be much inconvenienced with the truck movement.
Goa Chronicle.Com understands that Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic, South Goa) Gajanan Prabhu Dessai has taken strong exception to this order and dashed off a note pointing out that his concurrence was mandatory before the Magistrate changed the timing for movement of trucks as its monitoring comes under the Traffic Police’s jurisdiction.