Lawmakers in Goa are inching closer to a consensus to cap the iron ore mining activity in the coastal state, which is having far reaching impact on its fragile ecology.
Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar was the first one to appeal to all the lawmakers on the floor of the House last week to combine efforts to tackle the rampant mining in the State, which has snowballed into several social issues.
Mr. Parrikar had put forth the idea of capping mining activity in the State, which will arrest many irregularities and also will help state agencies to regulate extraction.
“I am ready to forget politics and help the government in this matter. This is a issue concerning to next generation of our state,” the BJP leader had said pointing out the uncontrolled mining activity in Goa.
Reacting to Mr. Parrikar’s statement in the Assembly, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who holds the mining portfolio, had also agreed that there should be consensus amongst all stakeholders over the issue.
Reciprocating his gesture, a senior Congress minister Aleixo Sequiera told the State Legislative Assembly yesterday that there has to be capping on the production from mines.
State Environment minister Sequiera stressed that no more mining leases should be allowed to be operated even if they obtain all the statutory clearances.
He said that this mode of capping is a measure to contain the rapid extraction process due to enhanced market demands.
Goa exports more than 44 million metric tones of ore to various countries including China and Japan. The State has witnessed sudden surge in exports after demand from China market. Lawmakers feel that the exports should be limited to 30 million metric tonnes per annum.
Mr. Sequiera said he has directed Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB), an authority under his ministry, to withhold granting air and water consent to non-complying mining units.
He said the ministry has appointed Centre for Environment Education (CEE) in Goa to study all Environment Impact Assessments of 105 mines and others who have obtained environmental clearances.
Professor Madhav Gadgil, Chairman of Western Ghat Ecological and Environmental Panel of MoEF is also associated with the work, he added.