Mining eating into Goa forests: Church

June 5th, 2011 - 1:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, June 5 (IANS) Excessive mining in Goa is proving to be a grave threat to the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats, the church warned in its World Environment Day message Sunday.

In an official statement released here by the Council of Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), the social arm of the Roman Catholic church in the state, executive director Father Maverick Fernandes has said mining, deforestation and aggressive promotion of eco-tourism by the government was eating into Goa’s green cover.

“Goa lies in the centre of the Western Ghats and is endowed with among the best forests in the country, which is dependent on this link for the health of its biodiversity. The forests of Goa are under severe attack due to mining for iron and manganese ore, indicating that among the greater threat to the entire Western Ghats is mining in Goa,” Fernandes said.

Most of Goa’s hundred odd legal mining leases ring the Mhadei, Netravali and the Bhagwaan Mahaveer wildlife sanctuaries located in the east and south of the states.

Fernandes also states that the Goa government’s state forest policy needs serious overhauling vis a vis marking of forest buffer zones and banning diversion of forest land for mining purposes.

“The problems of mining, deforestation, pollution, loss of water resources and wildlife trade constitute the crucial issues to be dealt with while discussing the need of sustainable use of forests,” the statement reads.

“Eco-tourism is completely against the interests of the forests of Goa in the present scenario. Moreover, monitoring and regulating transportation of forest produce through the forest gates are overlooked,” Fernandes further said.

World Environment Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly and has been celebrated June 5 regularly since 1973 in over 100 countries around the world. The purpose of celebrating the day is to show the world the importance of environment and provoke political attention towards it.

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