Project on hazardous waste disposal gets new lease of life


 The second attempt of the state government to take possession of land admeasuring 1.10 lakh sq mts for setting up common hazardous wastes treatment, storage and disposal facility at Dharbandora is bearing fruit as the Goa Industrial Development Corporation and the Industrial Waste Management Association, Goa, are likely to sign land agreement shortly.
However, it has to be seen whether the villagers will acquiesce to the land utilisation as in past the villagers had vehemently opposed the project and the site has remained unutilised for nearly three year since its acquisition.
The Goa State Environment Impact Assessment Authority, which is chaired by Mr Jose Manuel Noronha, has approved an extension of an environment clearance given for setting up the industrial waste disposal site.
“We want that common site for hazardous waste disposal is established as early as possible as it has been already delayed for nearly three years,” said the Goa State Pollution Control Board chairman, Mr Jose Manuel Noronha.
In absence of a site to dispose of hazardous wastes generated by nearly 158 industrial units the waste is either taken to Taloja, Maharashtra, or stealthily disposed of within Goa.
The project has been hanging fire for the last four years due to several reasons.
In 2010, the GIDC had acquired the land of 1.10 lakhs sq mts for the IWMA to set up   the facility. But the project was hamstrung by impassable terrains, high-tension electric line passing through the area and existence of a nullah in the vicinity of the site.
The project had been granted environmental clearance in 2008, but strong opposition from the villagers stalled it.  The GIDC managing director, Mr Faizi Hashmi said the IWMA had pointed out some technical problems, which have been resolved now.
“An access is provided to the site, while the electricity department had pointed out that a high-tension line passing through adjacent to the project site is not a major cause of concern, while the nullah is at reasonable distance from the site,” said Mr Hashmi.
Clearing the air over the delay in the project, the IWMA president, Mr Joseph D’Souza said, “There has been no delay from our side; in fact we had even obtained EC from the GSPCB. We had pointed out technical issues like improper access to site. Without access how one could expect us to take possession of the site.”
He said, “After the land acquisition we had tried to take possession but locals had attacked the labourers who were working at the site. We were not even provided an adequate police protection in such a circumstance…”  [NT]