Goa government turns focus on illegal mining in forests

Letter from revenue officer of Sanguem taluka complaining about illegal mining in forestland rang the alarm

By Ashwin Aghor
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

After cracking the whip on mine owners for violating conditions of environmental clearances, the government of Goa has now turned its attention to illegal mining in forest areas of the state. The department of mines and geology has directed the district collectors to submit details of the sites where illegal mining has been carried out in the past.

“Mining in forest areas of the state has adversely affected the environment and water resources of the state. As a result, water security of the entire state has been put at stake. Now we want to assess the extent of excavation in the forest areas of the state. It is an exercise to take stock of the situation and take precautions in the future,” said Prasanna Acharya, director of mines and geology with the government of Goa.

Acharya has written letters to the collectors of North and South Goa,
instructing them to prepare a list of areas in forests where illegal mining has been carried out. “There is no doubt that there would be many cases wherein illegal operators would have tried to get their act regularised by paying fines. Such plots might have also been used to store minerals and even overburden,” Acharya said.

The department of mines and geology took notice of the matter after it received a letter from the local revenue officer of Sanguem taluka complaining about illegal mining in forest area. Sanguem taluka of the state is the hub of mining activities with several mining leases. “The letter rang the alarm and we decided to investigate the matter. Both the district collectors in the state have been asked to get information from various offices under their jurisdiction about illegal use of forestland by mining companies,” Acharya said.

The authorities have also asked the district administration to furnish details about applications received for desilting of agricultural land. The government of Goa has banned desilting of paddy fields in the mining belt of the state. The decision was taken after it was revealed that illegal mines were operated in the area in the name of desilting of paddy fields. The state government has also decided to auction the ore piled up in the fields and distribute the money among the farmers.


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