Industrial pollution has once again come to haunt the people of Cuncolim. Even as thousands of tons of hazardous waste generated by Ms Sunrise Zinc lies unattended in the Cuncolim Industrial Estate, water samples from five wells tested by the Goa State Pollution Control Board in the vicinity of Ms Nicomet Ltd has indicated that pollution of the wells was beyond the permissible limits.
The revelation has triggered outrage, with concerned citizens demanding that the government authorities, including GSPCB, tackle the issue head on and free the industrial estate from pollution.
The petitioner in the pollution case, Oscar Martins has threatened to take the matter to the Green Tribunal for failure of the Goa State Pollution Control Board to reign in on the polluting units. “What we have seen in recent times is that the GSPCB is only engaged in paper work, issuing notices and orders. What the people of Cuncolim want is action and change in the ground reality,” Martins asserted.
He raised doubts whether any agency is monitoring the pollution levels in the drinking water wells located near the land fill site of Ms Nicomet, besides the wells in the vicnity of the plot housing 25,000 tones of hazardous waste.
When contacted, Cuncolim MLA Rajan Naik said that he would take up the matter with Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for necessary action. He said the GSPCB in the past had issued notices to the erring industrial units and promised to follow up the issue with the government.
Cuncolim Municipal Chairperson Devendra Dessai said he would call a meeting of citizens to chalk out the future course of action. “I think time has come to act and the people would decide on the plan of action,” he added.
A citizen Vijaikumar Kopre Dessai said that it is indeed sad that not even an inch of hazardous waste has been moved from the plot occupied by Ms Sunrise Zinc. “What the people of Cuncolim are demanding for long now is a stop to pollution in the Industrial Estate. There seems to be no action on the ground,” he lamented.
Incidentally, though the question of 25,000 tons of hazardous waste is lying unattended at the industrial estate, there seems no action to remove or transport the waste from the site. In fact, there have been several orders from the GSPCB to the Cuncolim police, IDC besides the factory owners vis-à-vis the hazardous waste. [H]