This case study is located on India’s western coast in the state of Goa and examines the proposed expansion of one of the country’s major ports and the effects of its expansion on the wellbeing of local residents and the environment. Several challenges to the project have been launched in the courts and the NGT over the years, some as recently as 2018. A qualitative study was conducted in 2018 using semi-structured interviews, a review of documents and field observations. The study focuses on the processes involved in pursing environmental justice. The analysis includes examining the opportunities of civil society to participate in decision-making processes, assessing the distribution of costs and benefits of the port’s development and NGT decisions among the different stakeholders, and exploring potential restorative remedies.
Preliminary results reveal problems with access to information and justice but these were countered to some degree by collective action in movements, such as the Goa Against Coal. Some interview respondents mentioned having aided residents and organizations with activities such as translation of documents, interpretation of documents, in the execution of letters, and the articulation of objections during the public hearing process. The case also reveals an array of negative social and economic outcomes for residents, e.g., loss of livelihoods due to displacement of fisherfolk and beach shack owners and the concomitant severance of community ties. Potential environmental impacts from dredging and health impacts from increased dust from increased transport of coal were also identified.
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