PONDA: Around hundred Dharbandora villagers, most of them women, blocked the mining traffic near panchayat office at Dharbandora, on Wednesday, over the issue of the slippery condition of the road caused by the mining trucks, despite the strong police presence at the site.
The locals alleged that the mining trucks ply on the shoulders of the road and cause it slippery and muddy, making walking on it difficult. They also alleged that last year the mining operations had stopped during this season.
"We demand that the mining trucks transporting the ore (balls) of the company be stopped immediately. The road is so slippery and muddy that not even a pedestrian can walk along without getting splashed with dirty water. We will not allow the trucks to ply in this condition. Police are indirectly supporting the mining company ignoring our genuine difficulty,’’ said the gathered women.
The incident occurred at around 10.30 a.m. Seeing the trucks transporting ore again on Wednesday, the locals took to the road and blocked the trucks. Police were informed and soon three platoons of Indian Reserve Battalions (IRB) including one of only women reached the site. The locals were asked to clear the road, however, when they refused police tried to force them into the vehicles. It was at this time, two groups of school children reached at the site to voice their protest and police had to retract.
"We protest the slippery condition of the road. Our uniforms gets dirty while we walk,’’ a student said while speaking to the reporters.
The trucks loaded with the ore were then seen returning back. The mamlatdar of Dharbandora, Mr Satish Prabhu rushed to the site. Mr Prabhu said that he would call a meeting of both the parties after discussing the issue with the deputy collector. DySP, Mr Serafin Dias, Ponda PI, Mr C L Patil, Colem PI, Mr Manoj Mardolkar also visited the place.
It may be recalled that since last Tuesday, the locals of which majority are women, have been complaining to the police and the Deputy Collector, Quepem about the slippery and risky road and are demanding that the mining trucks be stopped from plying for the next two months.  Observing that their request has not been heeded, the locals held meeting with the deputy collector, and then approached the Ponda police and submitted another complaint and also sought their help.


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