Goa to phase out 14 mining leases near Selaulim dam

March 23rd, 2009 - 8:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, March 23 (IANS) The Goa government will phase out 14 operational mining leases located near the catchment area of the Selaulim dam, which supplies water to nearly 500,000 people, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat said here Monday.
“All these 14 mining leases will be phased out in the next two or three years because of their proximity to the reservoir,” Kamat told the state assembly.

He added that not a single non-operational mining lease in Goa would be renewed, until the state’s mining policy came into force.

“Even our draft regional plan shows that the mining leases in the vicinity of the Selaulim dam will be eased out,” the chief minister, who also holds the mining portfolio, said.

Kamat gave this assurance after Leader of the Opposition Manohar Parrikar said massive release of mining silt into the Selaulim dam had badly affected the Selaulim catchment area.

“The depth of the Selaulim water reservoir has decreased considerably,” Parrikar said.

The iron component in the water body had increased to 70 parts, which according to him, is nearing “hazardous proportions”.

Parrikar added that the mining leases had produced tonnes of low-grade iron ore, which in turn produced a lot of mining slush. This is being discharged into the water-bodies, he said.

Parrikar also said there were numerous cases of illegal mining in south Goa.

However, Kamat said the government was taking actions in such cases. “There are 100 objections received by the mining department. We are in the process of taking action,” he said.

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