Sesa’s pig iron plant pollutes South Goa

Sesa’s pig iron plant pollutes South Goa

4:38 AM, 4th May 2012
Sesa’s pig iron plant pollutes South Goa
Pig iron plant of Sesa Goa pollutes South Goa; firm says expansion will take care of problems.

GOA, INDIA: The pig iron plant owned by private company Sesa Goa Ltd, two kilometre away from Khandola-Betki village in South Goa, India is polluting the nearby area by producing graphite flakes in air. Mahesh Gaonkar, Mandavi Paryavaran Premi Pathak (MPPP) claims that deposition of graphite over a long period has affected agricultural produce. “The size of coconuts has reduced drastically, and cashew produce has declined by half,” he added.

Sesa Goa acknowledges that graphite is a problem, attributing it to a design constraint of the blast furnace. “Despite having appropriate air pollution control equipment like a movable hood suction system and a bag filter, the problem of graphite remains,” said N L Vhatte, Vice President, Pig Iron division, Sesa Goa. Gaonkar claims that people have been protesting for a long time but nothing has been done, and with the upcoming expansion plan of the plant, the residents will feel more threatened.

The expansion plan Gaonkar is referring to is actually technological upgradation of the furnace. “The idea is to remove snags and streamline the production process,” clarifies Vhatte. This will reduce graphite flakes by 99 per cent and the rest can be handled by the air pollution equipment. “To execute this, the capacity of the plant will have to be enhanced, which the people have misunderstood,” added Vhatte.

The other concern of the residents is the deteriorating quality of the Mandavi river due to the loading and unloading along its banks. The public hearing for the expansion has been cancelled thrice. The Goa State Pollution Control Board had given the reasons for cancellation while replying to Right to Information queries of MPPP.

© Down To Earth Magazine

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