The flotilla of barges plying in Goa‘s rivers presents a charming diversion to the tourist, but this picture postcard scene masks a dark and ominous reality.

Goa is being mined to death, with devastating consequences, some of them not yet upon us. Forests have been flattened, and beautiful villages trashed, muddied, their air rendered unbreathable with toxic particulates. Health problems among villagers are on the rise. The rapid spread of groundwater pollution has imperiled Goa’s water supply. Left unchallenged, the miners will bring about Goa’s demise long before the effects of climate change kick in.

Enabling and profiteering from this destructive effort are Goa’s criminal Chief Minister Digambar Kamat – himself a beneficiary of the scores of new mining leases sanctioned (by him) – and his cronies. As the most venal man ever to be elected to the state’s top political office (that takes some doing given the superlative standards of corruption attained to by Goan politicians) Digambar Kamat‘s rightful place is behind bars. But India is not a nation governed by the rule of law.

These days on the River Mandovi there is a virtual traffic jam of barges pregnant with iron ore. The Chinese are paying top dollar and the mining mafia along with their political bedfellows are raking in the moolah, environment and people be damned.

Although these images make a political statement (fine with me) I shot them because I saw photographic merit in the compositions. The first three were taken from the Mandovi bridge in Panjim soon after sunrise, the last from the ferry in Old Goa on a stormy afternoon.

Ore-laden barge in River Mandovi in Panjim, Goa

Ore-laden barge in River Mandovi in Panjim, Goa
5D Mark II, 14L II

Barge, River Mandovi, and the city of Panjim

Barge, River Mandovi, and the city of Panjim
5D Mark II, 24-105L

Barge in RIver Mandovi in Panjim, Goa

Barge in RIver Mandovi in Panjim, Goa
5D Mark II, 14L II

Barges at the pier in Old Goa

Barges at the pier in Old Goa
5D Mark II, 85L II

  • Deepak - August 12, 2013 - 4:55 pm

    I do not want to comment on pictures, the reason is simple its always outstanding, but hats off to you for writing this article in such a straightforward way, I think this is the first time I am reading an article which portrays truth without any bull shit in it. well said sir.

  • […] Barges В» Photo Blog by Rajan Parrikar Dec 19, 2009 … The flotilla of barges plying in Goa's rivers presents a charming diversion to the tourist, but this … […]ReplyCancel

  • Vishwas Prabhudesai - August 28, 2010 - 8:53 pm

    It is unfortunate that for the benefit of a few, the Lord Parashurama’s land is being destroyed with ruthlessness cruelty! When the history of Goa will be written some times later, who will be held responsible for the degeneration? The people or the politicians?ReplyCancel

  • Akshar - January 2, 2010 - 6:32 am

    Beautiful pictures.ReplyCancel

  • Mandar Gokhale - December 28, 2009 - 9:59 am

    These pictures bring back old memories of when I first visited Goa, ten years ago, and actually spent some time on one of these barges chatting with the crew. It’s sad to know that they are contributing to the destruction of the natural habitat there though 🙁ReplyCancel

  • Arun - December 19, 2009 - 7:16 am

    My favorite is the first!

    I’d feel much better about all this mining, if India was producing the steel, too; and finished products from the steel. At least there would have been some development. This “dig and export dirt” is the worst outcome, IMO.ReplyCancel

  • Atanu Dey - December 19, 2009 - 5:40 am


    Wonderful pictures. You need to publish a book of pictures.


  • Murari Venkataraman - December 19, 2009 - 1:17 am

    Wonderful photographs. They take me back a bit. I spent a fair bit of my childhood in Goa in the early 1970s. My father worked with Dempo and was in charge of the River Fleet, i.e. the barges. So the pictures are particularly poignant. In fact your entire blog evokes strong memories in me – of a Goa untouched by “development”. Thank you for that.ReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *



To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the answer to the math equation shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the equation.
Click to hear an audio file of the anti-spam equation