Green nod for several Goa mines faulty, says ecologist

April 4th, 2011 - 9:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, April 4 (IANS) Several iron and manganese ore mines in Goa are operating after getting clearances on the basis of faulty environment impact assessment (EIA) reports, an ecologist and a member of the state government’s development panel said Monday.

Professor Madhav Gadgil, who is member of the Goa government’s golden jubilee development council (GJDC), told reporters here that in face of popular opposition his environmental sub-committee would peruse all environmental clearances granted to the 100-odd mines in the state.

“There are instances where the EIA reports are misleading. At places where there are waterfalls, some reports say there are none. In places where there are kulagars (traditional horticultural farms), the reports say there is barren land,” said Gadgil.

Gadgil said he came across instances in Goa where environmental clearances were granted by the union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) despite the EIA’s warning about threat of large-scale environmental damage from mining activity.

A former lecturer of biology at Harvard University, Gadgil said the EIA division of the MoEF would be asked to vet the EIA reports from Goa to guard against faulty information.

Gadgil said the GJDC would also deliberate on how the mining industry, which has faced allegations from the civil society on pollution and other lapses, would fit into Goa’s vision of a model state in the coming years.

“I will be discussing this issue with other members of the GJDC. There is opposition to mining from several quarters, but only after deliberation with the council members we will be able to come up with an answer,” Gadgil said.

Gadgil, an honorary member of the British Ecological Society and the Ecological Society of America, has been interacting with mining industry stakeholders as well as the protesting civil society groups over several months now.

Illegal and unchecked mining is a sensitive issue in Goa, with both civil society groups and the opposition repeatedly voicing their concern over the issue.

According to data submitted in the monsoon session of the Goa assembly, ore worth Rs.4,000 crore was illegally mined and exported from Goa to countries like China, Japan and Romania.

According to Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar, nearly 18 percent of Goa’s total 40 million mining output comprises illegally mined ore.

He has also accused Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and several of his cabinet ministers of being hand-in-glove with the illegal mining mafia.

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