Goa to probe if excessive mining causing cracks in houses

 After cracks developed in land and houses of a town in Goa, the state government has suspended mining in the area and ordered a detailed investigation to see if excessive mining caused the damages, a minister said Thursday. 

In a written reply tabled in the Goa legislative assembly, Revenue Minister Francis D'Souza said that cracks had developed in the land and houses located within the municipal area of Barajan Nagar in Bicholim, 35 km from here. It has a population of 15,000.

The minister said mining in the area has been suspended and the Goa government has ordered a probe into phenomenon.

"The site was inspected by a team of officers headed by the deputy collector and sub-divisional officer and comprising of officials from the director general of mines safety, water resources department, police and Sesa Goa Corporation," D'Souza said.

"The report of deputy collector suggested stopping the mining activities in the said area until detailed investigations are carried out by expert agencies such as Geological Survey of India and the same is under consideration of the government," the minister added.

Excessive mining near habitation areas and transportation of ore through populated regions over the last few years have resulted in a sustained conflict between civil society on the one side and administration and the mining industry on the other.

Goa exports over 50 million tonnes of ore annually. According to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, 40 out of the 100 odd operational mines are functioning illegally.

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