In its World Environment Day message, the Goa Church has said that the state government was encroaching upon the green cover in Goa through mining, deforestation and aggressive promotion of eco-tourism.

The Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), a Church wing, said that excessive mining in the Western Ghats was posing a grave threat to these ecologically sensitive areas.

“Goa lies in the centre of the Western Ghats and is endowed with the best forests in the country, which is dependent on this link for the health of its biodiversity,” CSJP Executive Director Fr Maverick Fernandes stated.

He said the forests of Goa were under severe attack due to mining for iron and manganese ore, which indicated that the Western Ghats was hit by mining in the state.

The Church has also expressed a need to overhaul the state forest policy and stressed the need for creation of buffer zones and banning diversion of forest land for mining activities.

“The problems of mining, deforestation, pollution, loss of water resources and wildlife trade constitute the crucial issues to be dealt with, while discussing the need of sustainable use of forests,” Fernandes said.

“Eco-tourism is completely against the interests of the forests of Goa in the present scenario. Moreover, monitoring and regulating transportation of forest produce through the forest gates are overlooked,” he said.