Saturday 04 Feb 2023

GIDC, GSPCB flayed for lack of regulation at industrial estates

THE GOAN NETWORK | JANUARY 25, 2023, 12:18 AM IST

MARGAO

The Concerned Citizens of the Nuvem constituency, including villagers living in the vicinity of the Verna Industrial Estate, have flayed the Goa Industrial Development Corporation and the Goa State Pollution Control Board for their total lack of regulation and incompetency in the many industrial estates set up and managed by GIDC in various parts of the state.

The villagers pointed out that the Pilerne fire disaster of January 10, 2023, is a prime and living example of GIDC and GSPCB functioning. “While the GIDC shows great talent in acquiring community and private land to set up and expand its chaotic zones of misery called 'Industrial Estates', it displays no interest or sense of responsibility whatsoever in instituting checks and balances and ensuring that rules and due processes are met with in managing its colonies of hell that keep raining disaster on luckless villagers living in the vicinity,” asserted John Philip Pereira.

He recalled that a similar disaster was narrowly averted in December 2022 by the presence of mind of the Fire Brigade when a scrapyard operating illegally under the very nose of the GIDC caught fire. “Even before, many instances of industrial effluents discharged into the soil and unsafe practices endangering the health of villagers reported to the GIDC and GSPCB have received no effective action whatsoever that we are aware of. The GIDC is busy giving permissions even to shops, malls and hotels in the Industrial Estate,” he said.

Pereira said the GIDC’s “development” plans apparently, do not include the provision of adequate water to its clients. “Hence village wells are being over-exploited and groundwater is drained exponentially to provide water to the unfortunate pharmaceutical industries who were probably hoodwinked by the GIDC into setting up here. However, perhaps as quid pro quo, GIDC and GSPCB are permitting them to merrily pollute the air and the ground with impunity. And the Water Resources Department conveniently turns a blind eye to all the excesses while the TCP is busy granting permissions for all construction activities,” he added.

Pereira said it is perplexing that GSPCB Chairman Mahesh Patil has blamed Goa’s rich iron and magnesium deposits for the black colour in the well water around the Pilerne Industrial Estate in the aftermath of the disaster. “Since Verna is also part of Goa, it is surprising that iron and magnesium have not discoloured these wells. But it is appearing on our ceiling fans. A sample of this was personally handed over to Patil in September 2022. There is still no news of the results,” he lamented.

“Patil had assured us many, many months ago after issuing a report allegedly protecting a Pharma giant’s deliberate discharge that the GSPCB would be conducting a seven-day audit on the Verna Industrial Estate, particularly with respect to a pharma unit in light of the viral video showing frothy discharge on the public road by this particular pharma company. He also assured of setting up a mobile testing facility in the VIE. Despite many reminders, the audit of the pharma unit is yet to see the light of day and GSPCB remains immobile regarding the mobile testing facility,” he added.

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