If it was a non-Goan owner, they would have shut down Goa Carbon Ltd in the 90’s but this successful company is owned by the Dempo group, a much respected name in the State. Which is why, despite almost every family in Sao Jose Da Areal, having at least one person suffering from respiratory illness, those protesting against Goa Carbon have made it quite clear that they are not calling for the shut down of the company. A number of local villagers are working in Goa Carbon. The protesters are calling for the company to put anti-pollution measures in place.
It is not just Sao Jose de Areal that is suffering but neighbouring Chandor too is objecting to the spread of the black carbon dust. It is all over they say. You cannot walk barefooted in your house. The floors are quickly covered with carbon dust. It seeps into everything that is uncovered, even an open glass of water, even a plate of food while eating under a tiled roof.
The worry is the health and well being of children and the elderly, both very vulnerable age groups. Intake of polluted air is common to all. On Independence day protesters came from across all social strata, old and young, from different communities – Hindu, Muslim and Christian. They waited until after the flag hoisting at the panchayat office then sat in protest.
Whether the Dempo company will take this matter up and bring in best business practices to find some way of raising smoke stacks or stopping the spread of carbon dust, remains to be seen. There were protests in the 90’s too, but sustained advertising in the local dailies of Goa, by Goa Carbon Ltd, put paid to publicity to that protest.
Never mind covering up the pollution, the company must take action to stop the emissions. The company is turning a profit, surely the Dempo group can bend its collective brain to solving this problem once and for all.
Goa Carbon is the second largest manufacturer of Calcined Petroleum Coke in the country with a turnover touching Rs 420 crore. It has a manufacturing facility on both of India’s coasts (Goa and Paradeep) and one in Central India at Bilaspur, involving a total installed capacity of 240,000 metric tons per annum.