Farmers and activists today alleged that the public hearing related to Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the proposed Greenfield Mopa airport held last month was conducted "illegally" as the government did not adhere to Ministry of Environment and Forests directives.
The public hearing on EIA report was held on February 2 at the proposed airport site in Mopa, a village in North Goa.
Affected farmers today alleged that the hearing was "illegal" as it was conducted after the stipulated time-frame.
"As per terms of reference, validity to have EIA had expired on June 1, 2014. Despite this Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) and district administration conducted hearing on February 2, 2015. This act was blatantly illegal," Sandip Kambli, Convener, Mopa Vimantal Pidit Shetkari Samiti, a group of project affected farmers, told reporters.
Several farmers accompanied by NGO members addressed the press conference here demanding action against the officials concerned, including GSPCB Chairman Jose Manuel Noronha and additional collector Swapnil Naik.
Kambli said the authorities made a mockery of the entire state machinery and people who were made to participate in the exercise.
"GSPCB blatantly violated all the directions given by Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and blindly put up the EIA report for public hearing long after the entire exercise had lost meaning," he said.
A farmer, Hanuman Aroskar alleged that farmers were forced to relinquish their land the state government despite their resistance.
"The entire exercise is a big land scam. This is a plot to take away our prized land," he further alleged.
Activist Abhijit Prabhudesai said they will also be writing to MoEF urging them to not validate the EIA as the hearing was held after the stipulated time frame.
He said that if the ministry does not pay heed to their demands, activists and farmers will move the court demanding justice.
When contacted Noronha, he said GSPCB had no role in conducting the EIA hearing except for arranging logistics for the same on that day.
"We have limited role to play in it," he said.