Methane from proposed waste treatment plant could blow Heera pump and KTC terminus sky high

22, Sep 2012

[SABINA MARTINS] Attached are two letters opposing the garbage treatment plant behind Heera Petrol Pump Panaji. One is a letter of GBA and another by me as a resident.

The area is a no development area. It is proposed to change the No development area stating it was an error. The area is clearly an ecosensitive area and cannot be permitted.

How did the pollution control board and CRZ authorities give permission without checking the correct area. on ground, is a question we ask

The plans show place for raw garbage dump and leachate tank behind a petrol pump. The stink of garbage at Patto stands testimony to the air pollution, the location near water bodies will cause water pollution, combustible methane gas produced near petrol pump will put to risk the lives of citizens in the congested busstand area in case of fire.


GBA/2012 /25

The Chief Town Planner,
TCP Dept.
Government of Goa,
Dempo Towers, 2nd Floor,
Patto Plaza, Panaji Goa

Sub: Protection of ESZ, NDA and CRZ as per RP2021 and Panaji ODP 2011.
Ref. Your notice dated 06 September, 2012 in the local newspaper regarding Chalta No.6 PTS 156 of CCP jurisdiction [formerly a part of Morombi Communidade]


This has reference to the meeting of NGOs and activists with you in the Conference Hall of the
TCP department on 11th September 2012 wherein we placed our objections in writing to the waste management plant on the register for the same and through our oral presentation of our views.

We are also putting a formal letter in writing to substantiate our opposition for the same.

The GBA is aghast at the reports that a local self-government body like the Corporation of the City of Panaji has planned to set up a hi-tech garbage treatment plant in an area already marked as “No Development Area” or NDA in the Outline Development Plan [ODP 2011] prepared for the city by the North Goa PDA and notified by the Government of Goa. The  conversion of this land to a “development area” can only be done by the NGPDA or by the State Committee set up under the controversial amendments to Section 16 & 16A

It is pertinent to note that the Survey Numbers 25, 26 and 57 of Panaji [in the erstwhile ward of Morombi ward of Merces village] now apparently given Chalta number 6 in one case near the Heera Petrol Pump opposite the Kadamba inter-State Bus Stand are currently mangrove forest and were earlier salt pans locally known as “agor”.

In fact, the Member-Secretary of the NGPDA, Mr. Ashok Kumar, is reported to have filed a FIR vide Crime Report No. XXX dated 20 September, 2010 with the Panaji Town Police against unknown persons for filling the said salt-pans in Survey No. 26 and 57 of Panaji City area. The Panaji Town Police duly investigated the case over the next eleven months and then closed the file on 25 August, 2011, as “A Final” . The owner is liable for prosecution in unauthorized land filling or hill cutting under Section 17-A inserted in 1994 to prevent further damage to paddy fields just a kilometer to the South on the NH-17 bypass in village Santa Cruz.

What is galling is that the “conversion” appears to have been done with the blessings of the Chairman of the NGPDA, and also by the Member-Secretary of the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority [GCZMA], Director of Science, Technology & Environment and Jt. Secretary for Environment in Goa.

The order No. 29/8/TCP/2012-13/RPG-21/Status/1803 dated 4 June, 2012, issued by the Chief Town Planner on the written instructions of the Chief Minister clearly and unambiguously states thus:

”c) Land use contrary to RPG-2021 shall not be permitted”.

The RPG-2021 clearly states the guidelines for ESZ protection and “Water bodies, Khazans and Low lying paddy fields” are classified as ESZ-1 i.e. very Eco-Sensitive Zones, which the ODP 2011 of Panaji classifies as “NDA” in this case. The people of Goa, whose aspirations and views on the participatory planning process and RPG-2021 the GBA seeks to articulate and present before the Government, are clear what needs to be done in case of ESZ. We expect the Government of Goa , the PDAs and LSGBs to honour and respect this aspiration of the people
of Goa to protect such lands.

All corrections should meet the criteria for rectification and no ad hoc changes should be  permitted in the Panaji ODP now as it will set a bad precedent while the Final Regional Plan for Goa is to be discussed. The final District Plans for North and South Goa Districts should be complete in all respects and must necessarily include the ODP areas of different PDA now in existence so that we have “One Goa, One Plan” for one common future from the Silver Jubilee year of Goa’s Statehood.

Dr. Sabina Martins


Sub : Initial comments on waste treatment plant behind Heera Petrol Pump Panaji

This has reference to the documents perused in the TCP department regarding the waste treatment plant behind Heera Petrol Pump, Panaji and the discussions held with you on the subject on 11 th SeptembeR, 2012.

I am hereby putting down my initial observations in writing. I need the copies of the plan on site to give detailed comments on the position of storage of raw garbage and leachate tank, after study .

1. Garbage areas especially dumps produce methane which is a combustible gas. It catches fire spontaneously when it reaches its ignition temperature. We have seen this happening in the garbage dumps at Sonsoddo, Parade grounds in Campal, Taleigao garbage dump.

The CCP proposed garbage treatment plant is proposed behind Heera Petrol pump, which has underground petrol /diesel storage tanks. Besides petrol and diesel is continuously being dispensed there with high percentage of the vapour in the vicinity.

Should a spontaneous fire occur at the garbage dump, burning particulate matter will be in the air which could ignite the inflammable substances in the petrol pump and lead to a major disaster. We have the instance of the fire at a Mapusa Petrol pump to understand the serious consequences.

Secondly the petrol pump being located near the main Kadamba bus stand, there will be utmost chaos and stampede as the highways will also become inaccessible for exit..

We have had great difficulty to go up to the University when the garbage dump at Taleigao was burning with thick billowing fumes on the road.

2. The other observation relates to the leachate tank in a mangrove area which is close to water bodies. The soil is porous and these water bodies are also linked to the Mandovi river. The leachate will contaminate the water bodies near it as well as increase the pollution of Mandovi river. Polluting water bodies causes great environmental harm which I need not elaborate as you are well aware. Cleaning and regenerating a river is not an easy task as we all know about the state of Ganga and Yammuna river cleaning process.

I therefore object to a waste treatment plant in the ecosensitive area which is against the law as well as for the great risks to the life of the people in that area.

I would recommend a transparent and participatory process of selecting the site and technology to solve the garbage issue. Please call a meeting of technical people, maybe from University and industry, officials, NGOs and concerned citizens to draw up solutions. Presentations may be invited by interested parties and deliberated in a democratic manner. Goa University or NIO could hold the workshop.

Thanking you,
Yours sincerely,

Dr Sabina Martins

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