Wendell Rodricks closes boutique to protest illegal mining

September 17th, 2012 - 11:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Sep 14 (IANS) Green activists have welcomed ace designer Wendell Rodricks’ move to close down a boutique in a five-star resort which was run in collaboration with a company that has been hauled up for illegal mining by the M.B. Shah Commission, which unearthed a Rs.35,000-crore mining scam in Goa.

Anti-mining activists have called Wendell’s move “an eye opener”, even as the Goan designer, who is passionate about issues related to Goa’s environment, rolled down the shutters and issued an emotional media statement Friday.

“We are shutting our Wendell Rodricks Marriott retail store as we were not aware of the mining atrocities. For a better Goa, it is best we part ways,” the designer said in a written statement.

“The onus is now on the people to take stands like this. One cannot expect much from the government. The people have to determine what decisions the government takes,” Fr Bismarck Dias, a prominent pro-environment campaigner, told IANS.

Bismarck, a Roman Catholic priest, had triggered a sensation a few months back when he became one of the first Catholic priests to contest an assembly election strictly on issues related to corruption and the environment, and urging an end to reckless mining.

Siddarth Karapurkar, who runs a farmers’ collective by the name of Goenchea Xetkaracho Ekvott (GWE) said that initiatives like those of Wendell Rodricks were necessary to put those involved in illegal mining in their place.

“The priority right now is to recover the money from the mine owners. If you calculate that wealth per capita, each Goan would be richer by Rs.10-25 lakh. Initiatives like these are welcome because it is then that the government can open its eyes,” Karapurkar said.

Wendell’s action comes a week after Justice M.B. Shah who was commissioned to probe illegal mining in Goa unearthed a Rs.35,000-crore mining scam here in which several leading mining companies were named.

Wendell’s store had been operating from the Goa Marriott resort and spa which is managed by the global hospitality giants Marriott in partnership with Dattaraj Salgaocar, whose family manages the V.M. Salgaocar group of companies which runs V.M. Salgaocar & Bro, which in turn operates several mining outfits in the state.

The mining company is one of several leading companies like the Vedanta Resources-owned Sesa Goa as well as family-run mining operations like the Timblo’s or Chowgule’s, which have been hauled up by the Justice M.B. Shah Commission.

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