Gadchiroli Oct. 9 (District Correspondent) The workers of Jango Raitad Mahila Sangathan, a tribal women’s organization visited the tribals protest agitation at village Todgatta in Etapalli taluka recently and extended their support to the agitation.
The tribals from more than 70 villages in the area have been protesting against the proposed Damkondawahi mining Project and ongoing mining projects for the last over 200 days. The women workers had gone to the protest site recently under the leadership of social activist Kusum Alam during which they talked to the protesters in detail and sought the information of the whole issue.
The Traditional Gotul Committee and Damkondwahi Bachao Andolan Gram Sabha Samiti has been carrying on this agitation in Todgatta village since March 11 last continuously to raise their issue.
The visiting women understood the ground situation there and the way how this agitation is being carried on for such a long time without any break. Even after six months of this agitation, the government has still not taken any cognizance of it, it was told.
On the contrary, the administration has labelled this agitation as sponsored and supported by the Maoists, told the villagers. Tendu leaves season and agriculture as well as forest-based life is an important means of livelihood for the people of the area. However, it was seen that the tribals worked in a very beautiful and amazingly planned manner, it was observed by the visiting women.
The work of tendu leaf collection, agriculture and other works were fixed among the agitators as per their convenience to ensure that no earning is affected. The protestors also informed that Mr. Dharmarao Baba Atram visited the protest site when he was an MLA and assured to raise the issue in the state Assembly but he ignored the promise even though he has become the Minister now, it was told.
Memorandums have been sent to the authorities but no one has replied so far. When the President of India came to Gadchiroli, Adv. Lalsu Nogoti, one of the leaders of the agitation, was not allowed to meet her. Nagoti was caught and detained for a day, told the villagers, according to Ms. Alam.
If Chhattisgarh – Maharashtra Highway is constructed, the forest and minerals of our area will be looted. We are afraid that our culture, civilization, history and knowledge will be destroyed, fear the villagers. The situation at the protest site is quite terrible. Agriculture, health will be threatened by the mining project, they added.
Despite opposition from some elements, it has been decided to continue this agitation to protect the six proposed mines namely Damkondwahi, Mohandi, Puske, Modaske, Vatteli, Nendwahi.
The women activists Malta Pudo, Aarti Kangale, Tanuja Kumre, Archana Tekam, Aarti Kolhe, Geeta Tumram, Vidya Dugga, Yogita Narote, Sunita Madavi and others of Jangoraitad Tribal Women’s Association were present during this visit.