Mega Projects and Mega Infrastructure in Goa: Who is Coming in the Way of Whom?

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

The immediate trigger for this article is an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Report for the proposed modernization and expansion of port infrastructure, supposedly for fishing, coastal, multipurpose cargo berth and liquid/general cargo at Mormugao Port, Goa, which has been prepared for Mormugao Port Trust, a body corporate under the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963, by Ultratech Environmental Consultancy and Laboratory.

 

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Recent State Decisions and Recommendations: More Nails in the Coffin for Goans and for Tourism?

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

Commodification of the environment for tourism in Goa is reaching endemic proportions. It has the potential to kill the very goose of environment that could lay the golden eggs of revenue and income generation from tourism. The Government dismisses such critical ecological concerns as the work of naysayers, and argues that no development can occur if every time a new project is proposed, environmental concerns are brought to the drawing board to oppose it. However, if people’s concerns about environment are not addressed, then the insensitively planned projects that follow have the potential of completely destroying the livelihoods of people in Goa, and putting their health in jeopardy.

 

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Mormugao to Mopa: A Case of (Ob)noxious Development

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

There should by now be no doubt in our minds that any large infrastructure development in India happens only through the destruction of resources like land, water, and air. This economic system is largely the legacy of British colonialism and Nehruvian socialist policies that promoted large scale land acquisitions and mega projects such as massive dams and industries. The many protests and demonstrations that one witnesses against polluting industries and wholesale land acquisitions in India is a fallout of this process initiated by the British Raj and followed through – ostensibly due to national interest – by the independent nation-state of India.

 

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Access to Justice – ISDS style!

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

On 11th October, 2017, the Honourable High Court of Bombay at Goa quashed the notification shifting the jurisdiction for Goa of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to the Bench in Delhi, thereby retaining the jurisdiction of the Western Zone Bench at Pune. This welcome decision for the citizens of Goa in the trajectory of asserting access to justice, could, however, be shortlived.

 

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Privileging Investors’ Rights over People’s Rights: That is what it all adds up to

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

We have seen several developments as well as utterances by ruling party members in Goa in just the last couple of months, in flagrant disregard of their wide ranging adverse implications for the people in Goa and their livelihoods. The justification of the proposed coal hub, of the declaration of six of our river stretches as ‘national waterways’, the hasty passage in the last Assembly session of the Goa Compensation to the Project Affected Persons and Vesting of Land in the Government Bill, and of an amendment to the Town and Country Planning Act  against the backdrop of the ‘transferable development rights’ policy as a bait for succumbing to what those in Government call development, the Central Government’s approval of the Revenue Generating Scheme for the Golf Course Resort Project of Leading Hotels Pvt. Ltd. at Tiracol…these are but some of the ominous signs of suppressing the rights and voices of people in order to privilege investor rights over people’s rights, and to completely overlook the lack of credentials of the proposed investors.

 

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Public Hearings: How the Coal is sought to be tempered

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

Public hearings under the Environment Protection Act, were lobbied for by people, as a space to articulate their concerns about any proposed project and also to seek clarifications. But from the State’s point of view they seem to have been envisaged to contain and co-opt people’s views within the frameworks of the project proponent by saying they considered people’s concerns and finalised the environment impact assessment report.

 

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Coal and a bit of Colonialism

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

The decision by the state and central governments to expand the coal handling capacity of the Mormugao port is cause for alarm. From very real and obvious dangers of environment and health to the equally real threat to the livelihoods of traditional fishermen, the government seems least bothered about the citizens. On the contrary they are making haste to promote the interests of the big corporations. Indeed, plans to build the National Highway 17-B and the dredging of the Mormugao port are geared to facilitate the transport of large volumes of coal to industries in neighboring Karnataka.

 

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