Responding to complaints from within and outside the State government about how illegal mining operations are stripping Goa, the Union government has put on hold all environmental clearances for mining proposals in the State.

The moratorium will extend till the State finalises its Mineral Policy and informs the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests. All proposals pending for consideration will be returned and no new proposals will be accepted from the State.

On existing projects , Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh has decided to commission a comprehensive environmental impact assessment study of all the mining activities that have taken place and for which permissions have been given over the past few years.

Remedial measures

The study, to be conducted by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, will also identify remedial measures, Mr. Ramesh said in a letter to Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat.

The decision for a moratorium was taken in response to two letters from Mr. Kamat earlier this month, asking for help in combating the menace of illegal mining.

The Goa Assembly and citizens groups have also been making representations on the issue.

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