Residents of Amdai, a settlement on the outskirts of Sanguem town in South Goa, are opposing a large brewery and distillery factory proposed in their area. The factory is promoted by Vani Agro Farms, a New Delhibased company that has permission to produce up to 5 crore liters of beer per year, besides other spirits. The project is being opposed since 2016 when the locals learned about it. The project is located near the Uguem River, which is a lifeline for Amdai as well as the settlements of Uguem village downstream of the proposed factory. The village residents feel that the factory's massive water requirement of five lakh liters per day will dry up the river and their water sources. Although the company has clarified that they would use water from the nearby Salauli Dam, locals are not convinced. They claim they have received some documents using the Right To Information Act, which shows that the brewery has permissions from the government to draw water from the river. Locals are also agitated that the factory is coming up on a coconut orchard, and entails cutting nearly 500 coconut trees. Residents allege that Goas infamous 2015 amendment to the Goa, Daman & Diu Preservation of Trees Act, 1984, that removed coconut from the list of protected trees was done specifically to favor this brewery. The amendment was openly supported by the then MLA of Sanguem Subhash Phaldesai of the ruling BJP government. In response to various news reports, Vani Agro has denied any connection with the coconut amendment but has admitted that because of it, they do not require any permissions for cutting the coconut palms. Village residents are also angry that the Goa state government declared the factory land as an Investment Promotion Area under the Goa Investment Promotion Act, 2014, which takes away the local panchayats powers to veto the project. Residents also say that that being a red category industry, a brewery cannot come upon orchard land as per Goas zoning laws. The villagers along with the NGO Goa Foundation filed a writ petition before the Bombay High Court at Goa seeking the project's clearance by the IPB to be canceled as it is a 'Red' category industry. The petition also challenges the Town and Country Planning department's decision to convert the land use from 'Orchard' to 'Industry'. The petition is being heard. Meanwhile, in June 2017, the coalition government in Goa agreed to reverse the coconut tree amendment and also review all decisions given by the Investment Promotion Board.
Demand/Contention of the Affected Community
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Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:
Goa Investment Promotion and Facilitation Board, Government of Goa
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Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Vani Agro Farms Pvt Ltd
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