PONDA: Goan social activist and Lion Ularico Rodrigues slammed the local authorities at the Panchayat level for their indifference toward the discharge of polluting chemicals and effluents by a factory in Bethora (and other factories at large in the area).
This problem has been going on for several years now and the water in the fresh water canal at Curti-Ponda gets polluted due to seepage from the drains and soak pits in the locality as well as the other factories in the Bethora Industrial Estate area who are the main culprits of the soil and water pollution in the area Bethoda-Curti-Ponda belt.
“The concerned factory is a habitual offender and has been pulled up time and again after complaints by locals, but no strong action was taken by the Panchayat or the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB). This is primarily due to rampant corruption in the Bethoda Panchayat,” said Ularico.
On Thursday morning several dead fish were found floating in the canal, sparking resentment and outrage among locals. According to reports, release of chemicals by the factory into a nullah which connects to the canal the night before was responsible for the dead fish.
According to Ularico, the factories in the Bethora Panchayat area are known for flouting pollution norms and regularly release their waste either in the open or into nullahs, which eventually connect to other water bodies including the Curti canal.
This recurring issue of fish fatalities due to chemical and other sewage discharge into the drains and nullahs has left the local community demanding strict, decisive action from the Panchayat and government against polluting factories. Bribes are paid to Panchayat officials to look the other way, Ularico alleged, adding that the factories could not function with such impunity in spite of several incidents of illegal chemical discharge into the drainage system and even storm water drains.
Such incidents of chemical discharge from factories in the Bethora Panchayat area have been reported multiple times in the past. Despite repeated complaints from locals, no preventative and corrective steps were taken, leading to yet another fish kill in the stream on Thursday.
The nullah flowing from Betora to Bandora Panchayat area, is suspected to have caused the widespread death of fish due to hazardous chemical release which ended up in the Curti canal.