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This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

April 15, 2010

Mayam ,Mahem & the Ore mafia

'Go via the Amboli route through Sawantwadi , the roads are much better even if it is 28 kilometers more’ said Suhas quite nonchalantly. I had to heed his advice seriously since he travels to Goa often, more so lately because of his new Fiat Punto. As a wholesale Vegetable vendor, Suhas supplies fresh vegetables grown around the fields of Belgaum to Goa on daily basis, and so it takes him often to Goa to meet his suppliers. Goa relies on North Karnataka for many other commodities, one of which has acquired prominence lately , not that Goa consumes it but for exports through its sea ports. Traditional Goan miners (and many other illegal mining operators in Goa) import high grade iron ore from Bellary-Hospet iron belt in Karnataka, blend it with Goan ore enhancing the export quality before shipping it out of their ports , and thanks to Reddy brothers in Bellary there is plenty to send.

And for precisely this reason I sought a change of route plan to drive down from Belgaum to Goa . The usual route (which is about 120 Kms) passes through the Anmod Ghats on the Karnataka Goa border which is now infested with so many ore carrying lorries of late that not only the road is worn out but the once green & scenic pathway is now a sea of red throughout the entire stretch . The ore carrying lorries make several up & down trips in a day and given the tight deadline delivery schedules the lorry owners have to meet, most of these lorries hover around with a death wish. And these speeding lorries dust up enough of their back packs to soak up all the greenery around in a thick blanket of fine red ore dust.

I thanked Suhas & drove down to Goa via a lesser known route; the road was OK, traffic was thin and the Amboli Ghats on the way presented a very nice scenic view of the western ghats all the way down to the Goan plains. Good riddance with the Iron Ore lorries I thought as I entered the outskirts of Mapusca and took a detour into interior Goa. I had to go via Bicholim to reach my first stop i.e, Mayam Lake View resort . The GTDC promotional brochure described it ‘You will fall in love with this place. Situated among thickly forested rolling green hills.... Mayem is off the beaten track and blissful guests swear this is one place they will return to again and again.’ and I opted this for a change before moving to a beach side resort at Calangute a day later. Bicholim is a small town with chaotically small roads & heaving a sigh of relief I managed to dodge through the city and was on the outskirts again. A nearby road sign said that Mayem lake view was close by and as I started climbing a small hillock the sickening feeling started to creep up again-the ‘Red lined’ roads! It meant that a mine was nearby and as I climbed to the top of the Hillock, the intensity of the mahem was quite palpable as I reached a 4 road intersection . A large red dusted arch pointed one road to ‘Dempo’mines and other 3 God knows where but i was more concerned about the one which led to my destination . The thought of a Lake resort in the middle of a mining area was sending my Holiday spirits tumble down like a pressure Guage in a free falling aeroplane.

But thankfully the nightmare was behind as I climbed down the hill towards a vast serene lake nestled in Greenery and I wondered how much of a difference about 2 kms made in this context. The next day morning the serene lake greeted me as I stretched myself onto a armchair on the veranda of the cottage which is perched on its banks. And as I unfolded the Navhind times , a news headline screamed ‘Ban expected to bring discipline in mining’ , another read “Quepem truckers assure to reduce traffic by 40%”. Obviously Goa was also gripped of this mania.

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