Lokayukta effect – Goa’s illegal mines close down

Panaji, Aug 3: After the Lokayukta report turned the heat on the illegal mining activities in Karnataka, there are repercussions of the same in places as far as Goa. It has been reported that a total of 19 out of the 100 operational mines in Goa have been shut down. Though the Lokayukta did not have a role to play here, the Goa mines were closed since it refused to get the required clearance under the pollution control bodies.

According to the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) chairman Simon D’Souza, the mines were functional without adequate permission under the Air and Water Pollution Control Act. He said, “They will be allowed to resume operations only after they get the consent under the act. More mines are likely to be shut down in the near future.”

D’Souza also added that there are many others mines which were functioning without the mandatory pollution-related permissions.

The mines are believed to be located mostly in the Sanguem sub-district and the Bicholim sub-district. Goa had managed to export a whopping 54 million tonnes of low-grade iron ore to countries like China, Japan and Romania in the last financial year. This happened even as green activists complained that there has been large scale destruction of green cover to pave way for “indiscriminate and illegal mining”.

The BJP had earlier accused several Goa Cabinet ministers of being involved in the illegal mining trade. The Opposition BJP leader Manohar Parrikar had commented that close to 20 per cent of Goa’s annual output is illegally mined.

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