Despite stiff opposition from the people, scrapyards continue to flourish in the residential areas of Ponda taluka even as the industries department is dillydallying on allotment of plots in industrial areas for scrapyards.
As per information available, so far 49 scrapyards are registered under the Goa Waste (Scrap) Recycling Unit Scheme of the state government. However, majority of the so-called ‘legal’ scrapyards do not have NoCs from authorities like village panchayats, the fire services department and the health department.
The deputy collector, Ponda, Mr Johnson Fernandes stated that the scrapyards, which are registered under the Goa Waste (Scrap) Recycling Unit Scheme, can be called legal. However, he said local authorities can initiate action against those scrapyards which are not registered under the scheme.
He said an order was recently passed to remove an illegal scrapyard, which was operating on government land at Borim.
The PWD Minister and Marcaim MLA, Mr Ramkrishna Dhavalikar said that no scrapyard would be permitted in the residential areas and it was up to the ministry for industry to shift them to industrial areas.
The Quella sarpanch, Mr Rajesh Kavlekar informed that there was stiff opposition from the Quella villagers who have passed resolutions at gram sabhas opposing the scrapyards. He alleged that all the scrapyards in the village were operating ‘illegally’ and the panchayat has not given any NoC to any of the six scrapyards operating in Quella village
Mr Kavlekar said at present the panchayat was seeking legal advice on future course of action against the “illegal” scrapyards. He said just one scrapyard had applied for provisional NoC. However, the scrapyard has not yet renewed the NoC.
But the scrapyard owners have said that they were living with the pubic hostility towards scrapyards, adding that the opposition was not specific to Goa and was seen throughout the country. A scrapyard owner, Mr Sabal Singh said, “It is not just in Goa that scrapyard owners face opposition, it is the same in the rest of the country. Wherever there are industries there are bound to be scrapyards. The people have ‘allergies’ to scrapyard without realising that if scrapyards do not exist then scrap material will not be recycled.”
Seeking rehabilitation in industrial areas, the scrapyard owner said, “If the government allots us land we will be happy to work from an industrial area. The ball is in the court of the government.”
He informed that there are two types of scrapyards: in the first case scrapyards are organised and collect scrap material from registered industrial units. While in the second case scrapyards are unorganised wherein most of the scrap is collected from households and smaller industrial units. These unorganised scrapyards don’t keep record of the origin of scraps.
In 2012, two major fires broke out in two scrapyards at Dhavali, Ponda close to the residential areas after non-commercial industrial waste was set on fire destroying several trees. Cases have been registered under the Environment Protection Act against the scrapyard owners. [NT]