For past 14 years, Dhansodo Torl in Shiroda has been plagued with stone quarries. The resultant dust and noise pollution has made it extremely difficult for the residents of this area to survive in such drastic conditions.
According to the residents of Dhansodo Torl, an area of 30000 sq. mts. of the Communidade land has been reserved only for farmers. The villagers are mostly dependent on farming on this land and for more than 35 years, have been cultivating crops like rice, beans, millet, etc.
However, some of the land owners in this area have started mining in residential areas. These mines have been problematic for the residents as they create noise and air pollution which affects the health of the children and adults too. It also leads to degradation of the soil.
Speaking to Goa Chronicle, a local farmer Mohandas Naik informed that the first mine started in the year 1996 on the Communidade land and since then many farmers have given their land to the mine owners. Adding to this, Taramati Naik, a villager, said that some years ago a lady from the village Ana Francis Pereira fell in a mining pit and died.
The villagers said that despite complaints to the Police, Revenue authorities, Goa State Pollution Control Board, Directorate of Mines and Industries, Chief Secretary, local village panchayat, local MLA and even Leader of Opposition no action has been taken to redress their grievance.
Mohandas further said that on one hand the government is providing different schemes to farmers for cultivation of fallow land and on other hand side encouraging illegal mining which affects farming.
The fact that their application under the Right To information Act dated 27th September 2010 seeking information about these mines has not been replied to till date, makes the villagers suspect that these mines are operating illegally.
Fed up with the unbearable conditions in which they are forced to live and the Nelson’s eye being turned to these illegalities by the concerned authorities, the villagers are now contemplating to go on a hunger strike.
When contacted Shiroda panch member Amit Shirodkar, admitted that the panchayat has received a letter from the farmers but failed to disclose what action the Panchayat is planning to take. He also sought to blame the locals themselves arguing that they had leased their land for mining purpose and sought to blame the government authorities for not taking any action.