GHRC seeks report on sewage discharge in Taleigao fields

Wants to know action taken in the matter before February 14, 2023
Fields in Taleigao being affected by raw sewage discharge.
Fields in Taleigao being affected by raw sewage discharge.Rohan Fernandes

The Goa Human Rights Commission has sought an inquiry report on the sewage discharge in the fields of Taleigao and has further directed that the report be submitted to the secretary of the Village Panchayat of Taleigao, calling for comments.

The GHRC has also sought from the panchayat the action taken or proposed to be taken in the matter within 60 days ie before February 14, 2023, in terms of Section 18 (e) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, for stopping the raw sewage discharge by housing complexes into the paddy fields of Taleigao.

The GHRC directive is an outcome of a news report that appeared in Gomantak Times (dated May 25, 2020), titled “Taleigao farmers unhappy over choking of St Inez Creek, new building projects”. 

Fields in Taleigao being affected by raw sewage discharge.
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The Commission had taken suo moto cognisance of this news item and called for reports from the Directorate of Agriculture and the Corporation of the City of Panaji.

During the course of the proceedings, Progressive Farmers’ Club, Taleigao, GCZMA, GSPCB, Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Limited, VP Taleigao, Captain of Ports, WRD, Alcon Construction Pvt Ltd, Sewerage & Infrastructural Development Corporation of Goa Ltd, and North Goa Collector were also added to the matter and their replies sought.

Except for the GSPCB and the North Goa Collector, the rest filed their replies and additional replies. The Progressive Farmers’ Club filed a rejoinder. 

The Progressive Farmers' Club pointed out that the building complexes either did not have STPs or were not connected to the underground sewer line and generated a large amount of wastewater which was pumped either into the creek directly or into storm water drains.

Fields in Taleigao being affected by raw sewage discharge.
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In May 2022, the National Human Rights Commission issued an advisory to the centre, states, UTs and high courts to prevent, minimise and mitigate the impact of environmental pollution and degradation which has led to violation of human rights.

The Commission observed that despite having one of the world’s best statutory and policy frameworks for environmental protection, India is experiencing a serious problem of air and water pollution, and ecological degradation causing impediments.

It stated, "One of the important recommendations is that each local body should establish an environmental cell to plan, supervise and monitor various activities to prevent, minimise and mitigate environmental pollution and degradation, and for waste management." 

The GHRC also brought up the issue of the St Inez nullah .

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