Amche Mollem Campaign
Wildlife Service Award 2021
A dream, a voice, and a people’s movement
Shortly after the world went into lockdown on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, Goa’s citizens were dismayed to learn of hasty virtual clearances accorded to three linear infrastructure projects – a railway line, a transmission line and a highway – all cutting through the forests of the Mollem National Park, which along with the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary are key to the water security and cultural origins of the life-loving people of Goa.
Ordinary Goans got together to resist the destruction – students, doctors, veterinarians, lawyers, fisherfolks, architects, hoteliers, small business owners, teachers, farmers, artists, and scientists Petitions and online talks highlighting the value of Mollem continue to be organised. Young Goa has risen as one to attend public hearings, rallies and flash mobs. Movingly, creative solidarity emerged from strangers. Films, songs, stories and art amplify the movement.
Popular support for Amche Mollem keeps growing. The Supreme Court appointed Centrally Empowered Committee ordered a re-examination of all three projects, suggesting revoking one and modifying two. The Amche Mollem campaign is an example of the power of the collective that requires continued support. It teaches us that the best environmental defense strategies are home-brewed and imbued with joy, love and dogged resilience.