The main circle at the Jardim Garcia de Orta in Panjim is seeing a connection between birds, trees and humans during the Serendipity Festival. This is thanks to the Save Mollem group being given an opportunity to showcase the ills of destroying Goa’s biodiversity under the guise of infrastructure development.
The Serendipity Festival invited the Save Mollem group to present the ills of the three projects – double tracking; widening of NH 4; and the transmission line passing through. The wildlife and environment will be affected because of the clearing of vast tracts of areas in Mollem to accommodate the three projects planned by the government.
Save Mollem has designed cards that carry imprints of the species of wildlife that will vanish if Mollem is destroyed and the trees that will be cut to accommodate the projects. Visitors to the site, after being briefed of the ills, are requested to pick any postcard of their choice, write a note to individuals of their choice and the same is later mailed by the Save Mollem group to the individual selected.
A book of addresses from the president of India to all involved in clearing the three projects is made available.
“Please stop rigging reports”, reads one postcard addressed to the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA); “Manohar Parrikar would be ashamed if you allowed this project to continue. Change before it’s too late”, reads a postcard to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant; “Get your act together and protect your land,” reads another to the chief minister.
“We need to respect our planet and all its creation”, writes a visitor to Vishwajit Rane; “Don’t mess with subjects you are unaware of. Leave our forests alone”, reads a note to Nilesh Cabral.
“I like this idea. I am not sure how much my children were aware of the problem we are going to face because of the destruction of Mollem, but now that they are here, I can tell you they enjoyed it, and it is going to keep them thinking and spreading the word around,” echoed Martha Menezes, as her children kept going through the work on display at the centre.
“I cannot believe that we are going to lose so many birds and animals because of this stupid idea of the government to destroy such an important place of Goa. Greed has its limitations, but now I have realised that these guys are basically going to wipe out the forest and the fauna to make a few of them happy. Sad!” opined Francis Roncon, as he and his friends strolled through the garden in disbelief after visiting the cubicle.
The cubicle at the garden is manned by volunteers linked with Serendipity from 10 am to 9 pm till the end of the event. “People from Save Mollem were invited to perform on two days – December 17 and 18 – and they are around in the evenings to discuss and explain to visitors the problems they faced during their agitations and their plans ahead,” explained Razia Kazi, a Serendipity festival volunteer manning the cubicle.
“People are getting involved and appreciating what we are doing. We have kids, grownups and many foreigners who have been visiting and writing postcards to who they think is right. We collect everything and will later hand them over to Save Mollem who will post them,” explained Navin Kumar, another Serendipity volunteer.
The Save Mollem movement has been showing the government in a bad light since its inception. By stepping into the Serendipity ring, the government may have met its nemesis.