Illegal mining: Goa worse than Bellary

Nine environment groups who were denied to make their presentation to the Justice M B Shah Commission on Saturday by the mining-transporters lobby met him outside the Secretariat and handed over their complaints. “Bellary is now identified with illegal mining, but the fact is we are much worse off in Goa,” says anti-mining activist and schoolteacher Ramesh Gauns.

He said 99 mines operated over 8447 sq km area in Bellary, whereas the whole of Goa covered just 3,702 sq km and has over 366 mining leases.

“The destruction in Bellary was stopped by the Supreme Court and those who want can move out of Bellary which is only a district till it is rehabilitated. But here we are talking of a whole state. How can we rehabilitate a whole state?” Gauns asks.

Claude Alvares of the Goa Foundation which has filed several PILs in the high court against mining violations said all mines in Goa will have to be declared illegal after the Shah Commission report. “We fully back this commission’s investigation and have full faith it will do its job,” he said.

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