Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

Lion Roars - 29

November 4-10, 2013

Goa’s mining-dependent politicians - 2

At a well attended rally in December 2012 of mining-dependent people organized by the Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF) demanding the immediate commencement of legal mining, the attendees among the political class looked like a Who’s Who in Mining.  Three of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators were there: Subhash Phaldessai, Sanguem, Ganesh Gaonkar, Sanvordem and Pramod Sawant, Sanquelim.  How Phaldessai became a millionaire thanks to his business interests in mining was documented in Lion Roars – 28.

The Who’s Who List included the former Sanquelim Congress legislator Pratap Gawas, South Goa Truck Owners’ Association president Prakash Dessai, Prasad Phaldessai, North Goa Truck Owners’ Association president Shamba Gawas and the former chairman of the Bicholim Municipality Satish Gaonkar.

Earlier in August 2012 Pratap Gawas was one of the most vociferous protestors at an angry protest rally led by the current BJP legislator Pramod Sawant at Navelim against mining pollution in Amona and Navelim caused by Sesa Goa’s pig iron plant in Durigwada, Navelim.  The protesters claimed that neither the Goa State Pollution Control Board nor the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests had conducted any public hearing before allowing extension of the project in Navelim.  Importantly, Gawas ranted that the company did not employ local villagers and was responsible for polluting the air, vegetation as well as food.  This is a classic example of how Goa’s mining dependent politicians run with the hare and hunt with the hound.

Though Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar himself continues to serially blame the Congress for the mining disaster, it is good to note that the Sanquelim constituency (earlier called Pale assembly segment) has in the past been under Maharashtra Gomantak Party rule for five terms, BJP twice and Congress twice since Goa’s liberation.  Another lie that must be nailed coming as it is amid Parrikar’s  Goebbelsque blaming of the Congress for being the sole perpetrator for the mining fiasco.

Repeating a lie

Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels would famously say: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.  It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”  Parrikar is doing just that.  

To better understand how mining drives government in Goa which means it finances both the Congress and the BJP, let us consider for this week, how the BJP’s Curchorem legislator Nilesh Cabral (41, today) became a crorepati at such a young age.  In 2010-2011 his assets were Rs. 13,42,53,207 and liabilities Rs. 9,09,30,693.  Cabral owns nine Tata tipper trucks, an Eicher truck, a Tata Tempo, a Tata Mobile (vehicle), three Tata trucks, a Tata ACE, six mini buses, four excavators and two barges; all of which he valued at Rs. 4,16,15,806.

Properties he owns: area 959 sq. mt. - purchased in Janary 2010 - cost Rs. 11,73,000 - development cost Rs. 28,77,000.
 Area 401 sq.mt. – purchased in May 2003 - cost Rs. 8,16,000 - development cost Rs. 12,00,000.
Area 250 sq.mt. – purchased in May 2003 - cost Rs. 5,20,000 - development cost Rs. 7,50,000.
Area 1,600 sq.mt. – purchased in June 2005 - cost Rs. 11,64,800 - development cost Rs. 48,00,000.
Area 2032.50 sq.mt. – purchased in June 2009 - cost Rs. 6,48,900 - development cost Rs. 24,39,000.
Area 1,975 sq.mt. – purchase date not known - cost not known - development cost Rs. 17,75,000.
He was able to borrow Rs. 1,11,49,029 from the Bicholim Urban Co-op Bank merely on the basis of a fixed deposit of Rs. 12,112, personal guarantees and mortgaged assets; but the fact is co-op banks like the Goa Cooperative Bank Ltd and Economic Development Corporation of Goa are cash waiting to be milked by politicians.

(To be continued)