The University Of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Waterways and water ecologies are integral to Panaji (also known as Panjim), a city situated at the intersection of the River Mandovi and the Arabian Sea, in Goa, India. In recent years, Panaji has experienced extensive flooding, causing creeks to overflow and submerge houses and roads in various parts of the city. Diverse constituencies in the city have embarked on a number of urban regeneration initiatives in an attempt to achieve ecological equilibrium. In 2019 for example, concerned residents filed complaints with the Goa Human Rights Commission alleging that flooded roads posed a risk to the local population. This paper examines the contestations and coalitions that emerge as bureaucrats, urban planners and residents from riverine and creek-based communities in the city initiate and implement urban renewal projects that seek to rehabilitate the urban waterways. In particular, it explores the rights framework that ecologically vulnerable communities in Panaji utilize to comprehend and manage their predicament. By extension, this paper also provides an insight into the role of human rights in water sensitive urban planning in South Asia.
Maya Costa-Pinto has research interests in urban ecologies, mobilities, transnational networks, legal and maritime anthropology. She has a law degree from the University of Melbourne and a PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Davis.