Friday 12 April 2024

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Economy | Industry

Anti-Meta Strips agitation enters crucial stage

 

The agitation against the allegedly pollutant Meta Strips project of brass sheet is entering a crucial stage now with the villagers consciously spreading the movement all over the tourist state while the tourist season is just beginning.

The Justice Sindkar commission, appointed by the government to probe into pollution aspect of the project, on the other hand is expected to begin its public enquiry from the next week.

The agitation began five months ago in four villages adjacent to the port town of Vasco against the project coming up in Sancoale village. But it is now slowly taking up a much larger shape than expected.

The Church has contributed to it remarkably by taking it up as a human rights issue through its Sunday sermons, due to which the movement has already spread in Catholic-dominated Salcete taluka.

In fact chief minister Luizinho Faleiro and industries minister Churchill Alemao, hailing from the same taluka, have been openly targeted by the Church. Their patronage to the project is one of the prime reason for the defeat of the Congress in the recently held Lok Sabha polls.

On the other hand, several environmental groups and even the Anti- Nylon 6,6 Citizens Action Committee have come out in support of the movement, holding public meetings in other parts of Goa, especially the interior part of the state.

The agitators are not even in a mood to listen to the public enquiry of Justice Sindkar commission, appointed by the Congress government to pacify the agitators and the Church. The commission is expected to probe into the pollution aspect.

The project worth Rs 250 crore, owned by Sushil Khaitan, is a Spanish collaboration. Much more suspicion is however raised about it as the state authorities are totally silent on the fact that the project was cleared within record time of six days without even holding a high power co-ordination committee meeting, the legal requirement for getting such projects cleared.

Instead of replying to these questions, the government has adopted usual tactics of terrorising the agitators with midnight arrests and threatening them. But every such action has boomeranged on the authorities with protesting villagers resorting to more violent actions like blocking the national highway.

The situation appears to be worsening now with around 3000 protesters creating chaotic situation in Margao, the South Goa district town, this week. They have also served an ultimatum to the government to scrap the project by the week end, failing which the capital city of Panaji is also expected to be paralysed.

While rejecting the Justice Sindkar committee enquiry, the anti-Meta Strips agitation has now demanded a CBI enquiry into the suspicious role played by the government into clearing the allegedly pollutant project in a clandestine manner.

As a similar kind of long drawn out struggle had resulted into getting a pollutant project of Nylon 6,6 scrapped a few years ago in the tiny tourist state, it has to be seen whether Meta Strips would also meet the same fate.


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