A proposal by the Panaji municipality to make Baiguinim in old Goa a permanent waste disposal site has hit a roadblock after protests by local people and heritage experts. Spread over an area of about 172,000 sq m, the site was to be developed as a landfill and integrated composting station. Baiguinim is about a kilometre away from the church of St Francis Xavier, a world heritage site. The Archaeological Survey of India, Goa circle, has also expressed reservations.
The protest has now taken a political turn with politicians opposing the dumpsite. "There is a school and a monastery coming up close to the proposed site and we are not in favour of the proposal," says Pandurang Madkaikar, member, state legislative assembly for Baiguinim. Recently, supporters of the local monastery protested in large numbers.
Besides, there were other problems when villagers of nearby Ribandar village guarding the Baiguinim site found 30 truckloads of garbage dumped near the disputed site. They are threatening to file a police case against the mayor of Panaji.
Solid waste mismanagement is a problem in Panaji, which reached its peak when the corporation recently had to shut down its door-to-door waste collection for five consecutive days. The city generates about 15 tonnes of waste daily, treated at its 70 composting stations. But to handle its entire waste, the city needs a minimum of 180 such stations.
There is lack of space in housing colonies and hotels to create more composting stations. At present a large chunk of waste is temporarily dumped at the St Inez landfill, which will soon be exhausted.
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