Devidas Gaonkar is a poet and journalist, and a proud member of the indigenous Velip tribe. He lives in a remote forest reserve not far from the beautiful and touristic beaches of South Goa. Devidas dropped out of school in 2003 because there was no money for education, and of boredom if he had note found film-making, his passion. One…
The coastal state of Goa is one of the most ecologically diverse regions in the country. In recent times however, the Forest Department, officially in charge of safeguarding the diversity, is in the grip of an ill advised roll that is systematically destroying the forests of Goa.
In the name of afforestation and conservation, the Forest Department has started fencing the forests in and disturbing their natural growth. It then chops off the existing trees and replaces them with monoculture plantations.
The forest is losing its texture and diversity. Animals have lost food and habitat. The local adivasis find themselves losing out on medicinal herbs and the fruits and vegetables found in the forests. Crores have been diverted from the public funds.
IndiaUnheard Community Correspondent Devidas Gaonkar, a tribal who lives in the forest reserves in the South of Goa calls the actions of the Forest Department an ‘errant foolishness’. “The people in my community have already started speaking out against this senseless destruction of our forests,” says Devidas. “The fight is just for the forests or the environment. It is a fight for our way of life.”
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