Thursday 03 December 2020

News Analysed, Opinions Expressed

Economy | Industry

CM will control pollution at Meta Strips


Goa government has decided to go ahead with the implementation of all the pollution control measures suggested by the Dhar committee with regard to the controversial Meta Strips project.

"There is no compromise on taking all the protective measures suggested by the experts committee", chief minister Francisco Sardinha told GoaNews in an exclusive interview. (Hit '' on Saturday for full interview)

Response from the government had become crucial at this stage since Dr Sitaram Jindal, promoter of the allegedly pollutant copper processing plant, had recently written a letter to the chief minister, threatening him to withdraw from the scene if the report was implemented.

Though he did not react to the content of the letter, Sardinha reminded that the Meta Strips Ltd was swearing right from the beginning that there is no pollution in the unit. "In that case the question of going back does not arise", he said.

While putting forward several proposals to stay behind, Dr Jindal had also stated that "in case it (the report) is forced upon us, we will have no other alternative but to close the factory at the risk and responsibility of the government".

While the villagers around the plant in South Goa, under the banner of the Anti Meta Strips Action Committee have been agitating to close down the plant for over an year now with active support of the local Church, Sardinha had announced that he would decide about it only after the experts give their opinion on its pollution angle.

Accordingly, the four-member committee headed by Prof B B Dhar was appointed in April. Though the 13-page report submitted by the Dhar committee last month did not sate that the plant is pollutant, it has made at least 12 different recommendations to control pollution.

It primarily includes measures to control pollution out of fugitive emissions comprising heavy metals of copper, zero discharge policy regarding treated waste water, reduction in water evaporation losses, implementation plan for transporting hazardous material and minimising occupational health hazards.

Besides suggesting a joint group for periodic monitoring, the committee also suggests evaluation of pollution control devices during the operation, installation of five to seven stations to monitor air pollution and disaster management and emergency preparedness plans for hazards like LPG and HSD.

Sardinha has also dismissed Dr Jindal's proposal for taking over his factory while buying its shares to the tune of Rs 51.50 crore. "The government is not a public sector unit to take over sick units and run it", he said.

The chief minister however played cautious on a question whether he would not mind the company going back from the state. "Wherever possible, we will help them", he said without elaborating, while adding that no factory can come up without people's help.

Sardinha also appeared to be in a mood to accept all the recommendations made to the government by the Dhar committee including preparing of master plans for each urban and semi-urban settlements as well as chalking out policy guidelines for developmental activities.

"The developmental projects, plans, policies as envisages by the Government of India if anticipated to cause adverse impacts on the ecological fragility and environmental quality in the Goa region, then they need to be examined and reviewed by the Goa government at policy level", states the report. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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