Special Correspondent

PANAJI: The issue of illegal mining continued to dominate the proceedings of the Goa Assembly’s budget session even in the second week of the three-week session.

With Opposition members, led by Leader of the Opposition Manohar Parrikar (BJP), leading a tirade against the Government’s “failure” to tackle the menace, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat on Tuesday told the House that no new mines would be allowed in the Western Ghats area of the State.

The former Finance Minister, Dayanand Narvekar (Congress), said that 75 per cent of the mines were operating, though their licences had expired. “Several of them have no forest, wildlife or air clearance,” he said. Deputy Speaker Mauvin Godinho (Congress) also joined the chorus during the debate on Demands for Grants for Industries and Mining stating, “Under no circumstances illegal mining should be allowed.”

Referring to the people’s opposition to a mine in Sattari, Mr. Kamat said: “I promise that we will see to it that no mining takes place in the Western Ghats area”.

Mr. Kamat said that a monitoring committee was set up headed by the Chief Conservator of Forests to look into the issue of mining. The official has submitted a report to the Government.

The Chief Minister said he had issued directions to the authorities to act against illegal mining.