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The ‘curse’ of Cuncolim is its industrial estate

13 Oct 2020 | 05:19am IST

The ‘curse’ of Cuncolim is its industrial estate

Debris of neglect, stench of pollution and a waste land of hazards are the only “estates” built at CIE

VIJAY DESSAI

CUNCOLIM: Even as the body of an innocent worker who died due to the leakage of Ammonia at a fish meal plant was handed over to his hapless family, the Cuncolim Industrial Estate (CIE) reeked of another death, of the estate itself. Uncontrolled pollution, hazardous waste lying around, factories not confirming to minimum safety standards, have all made the Cuncolim Industrial Estate sit on an explosive tinderbox.

Waste & Pollution

The hazardous waste Nicomet and Sunrise Zinc Industries, lies in the open, five years after the industries were ordered to be shut down by the High Court.

The plants--Sunrise Zinc Ltd and Nicomet Industries Pvt Ltd--which produced 18 tonnes of hazardous waste daily, were in total violation of disposal of hazardous waste rules for a decade.

This hazardous waste lies in the open and no one has bothered to dispose of it. Besides this, many other polluting plants are adding more and more pollution at Cuncolim.

The Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has failed to put things in order. Steel plants and other plants were told to install smokeless chimneys and the fish plants owners were asked to install STP plants to treat polluted water but nothing has been done.

Groundwater sucked out

Meanwhile, many industries are literally robbing groundwater without permission of the authorities. There are more than a hundred borewells inside the factory premises without permission.

Unauthorised workers are ‘at home’ in factory premises

IDC has provided plots to establish industries. No factory owner can allow workers to stay inside factory premises as it is risky for workers life. But many factory owners have constructed illegal rooms for workers

For 15 years no government officer has dared to take action against these illegalities. The Cuncolim Municipal council had inspected these illegal rooms but the council claims they have no authority to take any action inside IDC plots.


Officers in the Labour Commissioner’s office, those from the Factories and Boilers office, the Industries department, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) officers and even police officers and elected representatives know this but who will bell the cat?

The worker who died was sleeping in one such illegal room.

Some contractors do not even keep a record of workers. Since they are not registered with the Labour commissioner, they do not get benefits especially when they meet with accidents.

The estate which is never safe, nor sorry

Workers are not equipped with safety tools and equipment; especially the workers who work in steel plants near the furnaces. These workers are putting their life at risk. Many workers lost lives and some have become disabled due to various accidents inside the factory.

Many industries do not even have safety equipment like fire fighting and fire extinguishers in place.

Cuncolim doesn’t even have a fire station

This “matter” has been ‘discussed’ for 20 years, but Cuncolim has still not got a fire station. It is serviced by the Margao or Curchorem fire station to control fire incidents.

Chief Ministers, the late Manohar Parrikar and present incumbent Pramod Sawant had assured a fire station at Cuncolim. But nothing has happened even though there have been fire incidents and other fatal accidents in CIE.

Clearly the Cuncolim Industrial Estate is a place that should stop functioning at all, both for the sake of industry and the people of Cuncolim.

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