Goa`s citizenry make themselves heard at a mining public hearing

SHACHI CHATURVEDI
On January 31, in the community hall of South Goa’s famous Shantadurga temple a public hearing is convened to discuss the renewal of mining lease to Shakti Bauxite Mine. The company currently operates on a small part of its concession area: some 26 ha. It has applied to the state pollution control board for permission to expand its operations to 826 ha, and its production from 0.1 million tonnes to 1 million tonnes a year. The rapid environmental impact assessment (eia) and environment management plan document prepared by Sankalpana, a local consultancy firm, says the project will be spread over six villages, Betul, Naqueri, Morpila, Velim, Fatorpa and Quitol, in South Goa. The last time the statutory public hearing was convened, it was called off for fear of trouble. This time again, police presence is heavy. Even though the notice for the public hearing was given only two days ago