The residents of Usgao village in Goa are opposing the expansion of the MRF Tubes and Tyre Factory in their village. According to them, the existing unit, which was set up in 1971, has been a source of air pollution. They believe the proposed expansion will exert pressure on the natural resources in the area, besides affecting public health and the quality of life. There is already rampant industrial activity in the vicinity resulting from three other industrial plants-- Nestle, Finolex and Devyani Foods. Another major concern of the residents is that the location of the factory and expansion site is adjacent to Khandepar river, a major source of water for the village residents as well as for the Opa Water Works, which supplies water to almost 40 per cent of Goa. The expansion proposal states that the project will require 0.35 million litres of water per day from the Khandepar river. A study of all government documents by environmental non-profit Goa Foundation, submitted by MRF to the court, reveals that no environmental study has been carried out before the site was chosen for the expansion. The expansion proposal was approved by the Goa Investment Promotion Board in 2015, following which other authorities, such as the Village Panchayat and the state Town and Country Planning Department, granted the required permissions. The Village Assembly, on the other hand, had passed two resolutions March 28 and November 20 in 2016 rejecting the expansion of the plant. In January 2017, a large number of coconut and other trees were felled at the site. This prompted the residents to immediately approach the authorities to take action against the tree felling and development work. In May 2018, the Dhatwada Usgao Citizens Forum, a civil society group, along with the Goa Foundation, filed a public interest litigation before the High Court of Bombay at Goa challenging the permissions granted for the expansion and seeking a stay order on construction activities and development work that had commenced. On September 11, 2019, the High Court directed MRF to stop work at the site. The case is now in its final stage of hearing.
Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:
Goa Investment Promotion and Facilitation Board, Goa Town and Country Planning Department, Directorate of Mines and Geology, Goa, Department of Water Resources, Goa, Goa State Pollution Control Board
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Goa Foundation, Dhatwada Usgao Citizens Forum
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
MRF Private Limited
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