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India. Goa Minister slammed for approving beer factory

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Goa, on Sunday slammed Goa Industries Minister Mahadev Naik and the State Investment Promotion Board (IPB) for approving a beer factory, a “red category” industry, in Sanguem in south Goa, thereby violating the IPB’s own mandate.

A spokesperson for AAP, Valmiki Naik, said that questions raised by them over the approval of a beer factory remained unanswered despite being raised in the State Legislative Assembly last week.

It may also be recalled that the government continues to draw criticism for passing the highly controversial ‘coconut tree amendment’ to the Preservation of Trees Act, which was seen as giving a green signal for such projects, which would otherwise encounter hurdles from environmental regulations due to their location in certain eco-sensitive areas.

Mr Mahadev Naik has not yet answered AAP’s question as to why the project was not approved in the Sanguem Industrial Estate. The Minister had admitted to the factory being in ‘red category’ after the Opposition cornered him during the Question Hour in the Assembly last week.

Mr Mahadev Naik also defended the project on the grounds that it had the potential to create 500 jobs. However, AAP had already questioned this possible defence, considering that such beer factories have fully automated processes and hence, manual intervention is minimal. Regardless, has the company in question given any guarantee of employment, and if yes, is there any assurance that preference will be given to locals? If not, then on what basis is Mr Mahadev Naik making such claims, questioned Mr Valmiki Naik.

The party is yet to get answers to points raised like the logic of having a water-heavy industry in an area with water scarcity, the adverse impact of the project on the tribal population, and the inevitable pollution in the form of effluent discharge into water bodies as well as strong odour from such units.

22 Mar. 2016

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