12 Goa mines near wildlife sanctuaries face closure

Director of Environment Michael D'Souza directed the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) through a letter dated Aug 6 to stop mines which "have not obtained any clearances from the statutory authorities".

The list of mines includes Sesa Goa mines at Codli village, two mines operated by Shantilal Khushaldas Bros at Rivona, which do not have the required clearances and sanctions from the forest department. 

Another mine belonging to Damodar Mangalji, which is also under investigation, is located in a lease area which is a protected site which has ancient rock carvings.

The administrative action follows an assurance given to the state assembly Thursday by Environment Minister Aleixo Sequeira that all mines near wildlife sanctuaries would be ordered to stop operations.

"The undersigned has assured the august house that in case alleged illegalities are found to be true, the department of environment will immediately ensure necessary action to stop all such activities," Sequeira wrote in a note to the environment secretary a few hours after the assurance to the assembly.

"The note from the honourable minister for environment is self explanatory, along with it is a list of 12 mines which are operating without fulfilling the requisite conditions or without having obtained any clearances from other statutory authorities," D'Souza has said.

The issue of illegal mining has been one of the main features of the monsoon session of the Goa legislative assembly. A high level committee appointed by the chief minister has also thrown light on several instances of illegal mining in the state.

The opposition has repeatedly alleged that several cabinet ministers were involved in illegal mining. Leader of opposition Manohar Parrikar had also alleged that nearly 18 percent of Goa's mining exports was fed by illegal mining.

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