BY A STAFF REPORTER
Panjim: It is a common knowledge that mining activities being undertaken in the hinterlands of the state affect the flora and fauna but a study by a human rights activist Adv Krishnendu Mukherjee has now brought a startling reality to the fore, schools in the Sattari taluka are also badly affected by the mines resulting in a decrease in a the attendance of the students studying there.
Adv Mukherjee conducted a research of the Sonshi school, Sattari in the last twon months that was presented by anti-mining activist Seby Rodrigues at institute Piedade recently. In the research, it was stated that this school is surrounded by five mines, including Sesa Goa.
This Marathi-medium government primary school has one teacher for just 12 students whose attendance is on decline due to the mining activity, says the study that also points out to further hardships being faced by the school during the monsoons.
During the monsoons, the polluted rainwater from the mines flows near the school. So also the mining rejects are being dumped within 10 metres from the school steps. Besides, the school lacks running water facility due to the presence of a beneficiation plant of Sesa Goa that is operational from 2003 in this area, states Mukherjee, who further claims that the Goa Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has not done any test on the air and water around the school.
He also alleges that “this is a violation of the student’s right to education, besides other environmental violations concerning air, water and noise pollution as well as encroachment of the government land by Sesa Goa.”
A teacher-cum-activist Ramesh Gawas also pointed out that “this school was started in the year1964 much before the mining activities commenced there. At that time, the area was 600 sq metres but now it is nearly 250 sq metres.” Gawas added “there is no play ground for the students.” He further lamented that this is the state of all the schools functioning in the mining areas and that the low admission rate in these schools could be attributed to the ongoing mining activities and their hazards.
Gomantak Times, September 24, 2009, Panaji