Mining major Sesa Goa has admitted to polluting neighbouring villages caused by ‘accidental misfiring’ its two diesel burners at its coke plant located at Navelim in Bicholim taluka nearly 40 kilometres from here.
The apology comes two whole days after misfiring of its two diesel burners covered a neighbouring village in sooty dust and only after a successful shutdown call by the villagers in the local town highlighted the issue. The statement, which has been published on the front pages of leading dailies, comes after the Goa State Pollution Control Board, ordered the plant to be shut for 48 hours. “Sesa remains committed to maintain highest standards of environmental safeguards and regrets the accidental misfiring of two burners …,” SGL has stated in its statement.
According to the statement, the high capacity diesel burners misfired on August 17 and 18 generating soot and particulate matter which dispensed into the atmosphere affecting neighbouring areas. “All mitigating measures have already been taken and Sesa is ready to undertake any other practical measures to restore confidence of (the) local population,” the company has said.
The villagers took up the issue at a gram sabha (village council meeting) where they resolved to observe the shutdown besides also accusing the company of fraud and cheating officials while setting up the plant.
The company, however, in its statement refuted such allegations. “The expansion project has been set up in the notified industrial land acquired by the Goa Industrial development Corporation. As per the Environment Impact Assessment notification of 2006, no public hearing is required for industries being set up within notified industrial areas,” the statement says, responding to the allegation that the EIA was not done at the time of submitting applications for permissions.
The GSPCB had earlier, following the shutdown, asked the company to keep operations of the plant on hold for 48 hours