Tue, 14 Jul, 2020

Winning model springs hope to green mining heartland

18th November 2019, 03:25 Hrs



Football sky-field for a roof, cafes, aerating waterfalls, caves under a cable bridge, an organic re-use centre which could perhaps churn energy and carbon credits while processing waste from Baga-Calangute-Candolim and much more encompassed in an architectural model of an iconic 130-meter high structure has thrown up realistic opportunity to rehabilitate denuded land in long abandoned mines in Goa.   

Brainchild of a pair of Aldona-based architects - Ayaz Basrai and Jarudhi - who operate from their ‘Busride’ studio in Aldona, the structure’s model, concept and presentation also won the top slot at a recent contest organised by the Goa Chapter of the Indian Institute of Architects.   

The structure envisioned on an acre of land on a battered and bruised landscape of a dead mine in Shirgao is designed to be a ‘cultural hub’ which could singularly have economies galloping of four surrounding villages - Shirgao, Bicholim, Mayem and Corjuem-Aldona. The structure is also planned to be a nodal point for generating energy, harvest rain-water from the hilly terrain, conserve water, organic soil and de-contaminate drinking water at the mining pit’s base through state-of-the-art drip irrigation channels, hydroponics, hydel power and organic compounds for heavy metal absorption.   

“The mine’s perimeter is adopted and soil moisture depletion is planned to be resolved by sourcing organic waste from famous tourist areas of Baga, Calangute as raw material for compost and manure,” Basrai said.   

It also includes setting up local seed nurseries to raise indegenious species like Jagomas, Babolans, Guavas, Churnas which will eventually cover the vast mined land and is part of the plan which puts land rehabilitation and building construction to run parallel.   

“The concept involves an expert panel from engineering, science, biodiversity management, marine conservation, agriculture, education, technology and economics constantly providing the right

directions and site-specific programs for the village quadrant through the execution,” Basrai added.   “Land rehab programs must be approached the way we would heal a wound,” Basrai said, adding that the entire denuded landscape should be repaired just like a surgeon would reconnect tissue, veins and arteries, graft skin and painstakingly restore the living layers and leave a minimal scar. The concept also looks at ways to engage communities from Shirgao, Mayem, Bicholim and Corjuem-Aldona in gainful livelihoods as the concept is consciously capitalist, making commercial use of land while replenishing and rehabilitating it.   

The water filtration system forms the core of the building which provides for spaces in caves under a cable bridge for the aged, and for the young amid cascading waterfalls through several levels. The bird feeder and a natural archive museum is proposed at another level and one of the biggest and busiest places in the complex is reserved for the organic re-use centre, including a methane extraction chamber.   

Three floors below the organic re-use centre, will be space where organic waste is being converted into mulch, methane and carbon credits for a massive carbon sink stadium which will physically regenerate the landscape around by seeding organic content into the red earth.   

Efficient water harvesting systems opening up water canals at nine different atrium levels to form tidal falls, before entering the percolation chamber is also planned to make the structure self-sufficient for water.   

Providing multiple stakeholders and stewards a livelihood is what Basrai and his partner-architect Jarudhi picturize in their iconic 130-meter high structure which they say is practically implementable fully in 15 years (by 2035).  “It will be a bustle of musicians, chefs, restaurants, urban farmers harvesting fruits from the façade hydroponic farm, fishermen offering eco-rides into mangrove forests at the foothill, craftsmen maintaining and building the property, researchers, conservationists and marine biologist running the underwater marine ecosystem health centre at the base of the tower,” the architect duo claim.   

 Regional representatives from Shirgao, Bicholim, Aldona and Mayem, and local entrepreneurs must be the core of the regulations committee to overlook effective management, they said, adding that for its survival it must inspire stewards, patrons and livelihood in timeless continuity with grandfather to great grandson harvesting its service.   

If realistically begun to be executed in 2020, Basrai and Jarudhi said: “By 2035, Shirigao and its neighbouring villages will have economically transformed, hosting a globally famous Hot Air Balloon festival, a pop up market in the entire tower once a month, while Shirigao, Bicholim and Aldona co-host most international eco-tourism events, careful to retain the village way of life.With some 30,000 hectares of lease areas mined and abandoned since mining began pre-liberation, the Basrai-Jarudhi architect duo’s vision could well spring hope for communities residing in Goa’s mining heartland for long living in disdain since the 2015 Supreme Court ban. And also, in the bargain, earn the State several brownie points in the global fight against climate change.