Drive to save Goa’s green cover goes globalOctober 15th, 2011 - 9:46 am ICT by IANS
Panaji, Oct 15 (IANS) The campaign against illegal mining in Goa and the battle to save greenery in the coastal state has just got global.
Green campaigners of Goan origin are now rooting for designating Goa’s forests Unesco Natural World Heritage sites, along with other states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, also home to tropical hotspots.
The global campaign started by the UK-based Carmen Miranda is catching up, with the activist claiming that the mining lobby and the Goa government have colluded to exclude Goa from the multi-state movement.
There are rich deposits of iron ore in the Western Ghat mountains here, rapidly being ravaged by illegal and indiscriminate mining.
“It was the responsibility of the Goa Government to commission a similar study of Western Ghats in Goa and to submit it with the dossier already prepared at least three years ago by Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala,” said Miranda.
She has been getting encouraging responses for her campaign from the Goan diaspora — from the US to Botswana.
“The main problem with expat Goans is that few are really well informed or aware of the extent of destruction of Goa, its forests and its environment in general,” Miranda told IANS.
“When people became aware, they got totally horrified and angry and, as a result, we have a growing number of Goans the world over wanting to actively help and know what they can do to prevent total annihilation of Goa by the mining industry,” she added.
A Unesco World Heritage Site status would give further protection to Goa’s national parks, wild life sanctuaries and forests and make it a ‘no go’ area for any type of development.
Inevitably, therefore, it would thwart the machinations of the mining industry to dig deeper into these pristine areas.
“Of course, it is not in the interests of the miners to allow the Goa government to apply for the Unesco World Heritage site nomination,” she said. “We need to challenge that.”
According to Miranda, the Western Ghat forests cover 160,000 sq km, parts of which are in Goa. The extent qualifies it for nomination but the mining lobby appears to have coerced the state government into silence.
“It is no secret some of the most powerful mine owners have a tight grip on the Goa government and that is probably how Mr. Digambar Kamat (chief minister) held the mining portfolio tight, facilitating a free-for-all-miners,” she said.
Miranda has already circulated an online petition with her colleagues Eddie Fernandes, another Britain-based Goan, and Herman Carneiro, who runs a popular online message board called www.goanet.com, which has thousands of ethnic Goans on its mailing list.
The Western Ghats are a continuous mountain range across five states in India. They are one of the 18 globally recognized biodiversity hotspots in the world, with a large number of endemic species.
“It is practically a live ‘life’ laboratory where researchers are still finding new species of flora and fauna,” she said.
“The benefits will not only be for Goa but for humanity and life on earth itself,” she said.
(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at email@example.com)
- Western Ghats being handed over to mining barons: Goa's green campaigner - Jul 05, 2012
- Western Ghats put on World Heritage Site list - Jul 02, 2012
- Goan NRIs campaign against illegal mining - Jan 22, 2012
- Goan convention in London to discuss environment degradation back home - Jul 17, 2011
- Government trying to resolve heritage sites dispute - Sep 06, 2011
- Why is state government against heritage tag for Western Ghats, question greens - Jul 09, 2012
- Goa's battle against mining reaches London - Jun 29, 2011
- Goa expats want total change of political blood - Mar 01, 2012
- Campaign to save Western Ghats becomes a mass movement (Feature) - Dec 18, 2009
- It's greens versus government in Karnataka (Bangalore Newletter) - Jul 05, 2011
- Mining dumps in Goa the next Congress-BJP battleground? (With Image) - Sep 05, 2012
- 'Save Goa' campaign attracts 9,000 at British Goan fest - Jul 24, 2012
- Mining eating into Goa forests: Church - Jun 05, 2011
- Tiger, tiger burning bright in Goa's forests - Feb 06, 2011
- Goa tourism policy may lose its 'fun' - May 20, 2012
Tags: carmen miranda, coastal state, global campaign, goa government, goans, iron ore, machinations, maharashtra, mining industry, natural world heritage, pristine areas, s green, total annihilation, unesco world heritage, unesco world heritage site, western ghat mountains, western ghats, wild life sanctuaries, world heritage site, world heritage sites