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“Goyant Kollso Naka”: Here’s Why Goa Is Out Protesting Even During A Pandemic

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On November 1, Sunday, massive protests broke out in Goa as thousands assembled at the railroad track in Chandor (South Goa) to protest the South Western Railways’ double-tracking venture, supposedly being carried out to transport coal from the state to steel plants in north Karnataka.

Demonstrators said that this will make Goa a coal transportation centre, posing a risk the state’s environmental diversity, while favouring major coal companies. Uniting under the sloganGoyant Kollso Naka,” (We don’t need coal in Goa), a huge number of protestors held an all-night vigil at Chandor from midnight to 5 am on November 2, with candlelight walks, raising mottos to the beat of drums, and blocking the railroad line where double-tracking work was set to begin.

If an ordinary citizen wants to construct even a wall on their own property they require Panchayat’s permission, they require clearances. Yet for such a big project the railways do not have requisite permissions. Last night’s work was being done without the Panchayat’s permission.

Moreover, wildlife clearance has not been acquired, as well as clearance from the National Tiger conservation board, all clearances with regards to the project for the entire line is still pending with the regional office in Bangalore. Yet railways continue to work illegally. We noted that without land acquisition, construction is happening in many private properties blatantly and illegally,” said Deepika D’Souza, the Secretary of Goyant Kollso Naka(GKN), as reported by The Citizen.

For the past one week, railroad specialists have been working on multiplying the railroad tracks after dusk. As of now, the state serves as a significant connect to coal transportation to Karnataka. Be that as it may, in spite of the existing framework, the government is looking to fast-track the transportation handle by presenting three major framework ventures, which is confronting firm restriction from nearby residents.

This setup may involve major deforestation at Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park on the border of Goa and will harshly impact the overall environmental balance of the State. Further, this can potentially wreck Goa’s coast, fisheries, waterways, towns, the Western Ghats, backwoods, and the very essence of Goa. This is why the people of Goa are out in the city with the intent to prevent coal transportation from Goa.

As stated by Abhijeet Prabhudesai, the Co-convenor, GKN, People’s Movement, this protest is likely to continue until the demands receive a valid response. He also added, “By sitting on the tracks here, we want to tell the government that we are vehemently opposed to the projects of double-tracking. We will prove to the government that we are not approving its plan to make Goa a coal hub.

The people who gathered to protest questioned the Power Minister, Nilesh Cabral’s, absence at the protests, and the inability to answer the people’s questions. The protests continue as an attempt to thwart the commencement of the work. The protestors warned the government of massive agitations if it fails to listen to the voice of people.

The BJP-led coalition government in Goa, meanwhile, has reiterated that this is an “apprehension” in the minds of the citizens that Goa will be converted into a coal hub. They claimed that there would no harm to the natural resources of Goa. It will now be extremely important to watch how the government responds to such a massive protest which is likely to intensify if not addressed adequately.

Featured image credit: Save Mollem/Facebook.
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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