Margao: Late Monday night’s massive fire in a unit involved in collection of waste paper for the packaging industry at the Nessai Industrial Estate triggered outrage amongst local villagers, waving a sustained battle against the industries operating in the estate sans safety standards.
While the Margao fire brigade along with reinforcements from Cuncolim and Curchorem finally managed to bring the fire under control, local residents pointed out that this is not the first time that a massive fire has engulfed an industrial unit at the Nessai estate.
Similar fire incident happened in the past
They pointed out that a similar fire had engulfed a distillery around two years ago, wherein bottles had landed in the immediate neighbourhood inhabited by local residents. “We have been demanding action against the units which have illegally extended their premises and have thrown the safety standards to the winds,” remarked a resident, Antonio Dias.
Sadly, he said none of the authorities have bothered to look into the grievances of the residents suffering from pollution and raging fires from the industrial estate. “We have called on all and sundry over the years to ensure that the units operate in the Industrial estate with safety standards, but in vain. They are not even ready to look into our complaints,” he added.
Backlash over safety norms
Velim MLA Cruz Silva, who rushed to the spot after being informed of the fire incident, said the people of Areal village have been fighting to demand safety norms for the units and to check the illegal extensions of the units. “I had also taken up their grievances before the authorities. The latest fire is an indication that all is not well at the Industrial estate,” he added.
Margao Fire Officer, Gill D’Sa informed that around 48,000 litres of water was used by the fire brigade to bring the fire under control. Property around ₹3 lakh was destroyed in the fire, he said, but hastened that the fire brigade has managed to save property worth ₹20 lakh.
He said around 20 fire fighters were engaged in the firefighting operations that went past midnight.