PANJIM, SEPT 23
The 12 students of Sonshi Government Primary School in Sattari have nothing, but mining dust for company during their school hours. There is no playground of or any open space in front of the school. No sooner the students step out of their classrooms they are catapulted into the thick of mining activities.
Convenor GOAMAP Senastian Rodrigues in a presentation held in the city on Wednesday highlighted how five mining companies surrounding the school have violated environmental and all possible laws there are.
Rodrigues said the presentation was prepared by one Advocate Krishnendu Mukherjee from Kolkata who has been in Goa for some time. He had done a study on the school tow months back during the monsoons, he mentioned.
The study shows mining overburden has been dumped upto 10 metres from the steps of the school. There has been no running water in the school ever since Sesa Goa beneficiation plant started operating next to the school somewhere in 2003.
The mining companies surrounding the school are involved in heavy encroachment as the original area, 650 square metres, in which the institution was housed has depleted over the years.
Rodrigues said the Department of Education failed to give any proper response to RTI request concerning educational standards at the school and the Goa State Pollution Control Board didn’t carry any tests on air, water or noise pollution surrounding the institution.
During the rainy season one can find polluted rain water near the school because of the mining in its surrounding.
Sonshi Government Primary School was set up in 1964. It has a sole teacher for the last eight years who has been trying hard to get transfer but the same has been refused.
When questioned if the school could be amalgamated with another government institution, Ramesh Gauns said the next school was at the distance of 9-10 kilometers. There are many reasons why this school can’t be amalgamated with another school, he added.
Gauns said there are several such schools that are affected due to mining.
Rodrigues said their aim was to add one more dimension to their campaign by exposing how mining was damaging school infrastructure. “We will do a study and come out with details of schools affected by mining,” he stated.
Herald, September 24, 2009, Panaji