Mining environment impact reports fraudulent: Goa minister

July 19th, 2011 - 3:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, July 19 (IANS) The crucial environment impact assessment reports, based on which mining companies are given green clearances, are rigged and very often are ‘cut and paste’ jobs, Goa’s Environment Minister Aleixo Sequeira said Tuesday.

The Goa government had ordered probe into all the 105 environment impact assessment reports filed by the mining companies to check for such fraudulent data, Sequeira said at an environment conference here.

“I agree that there are several mining firms which do not tell truth in their environment impact assessment reports which they submit to the government,” the minister said.

“Most of the reports are, in fact, cut and paste jobs…They do not reflect reality on ground. When the probe is complete, all guilty mining companies who have filed false details will be punished,” Sequeira added.

The objective behind the assessment is to foresee and address potential environmental problems and concerns at an early planning stage of the mining project, and is a mandatory part of the mining process.

Over 100 open cast iron ore mines are in operation in Goa and 130 are waiting clearance.

Over 600 million tonnes of mining rejects are dumped in around 50 villages spread across the state’s mining belt and over three-fourths of a million trees have been legally ordered to be cut by the Goa forest department, largely for mining purposes.

According to Sujith Dongre, whose Centre for Environment and Education (CEE) has been appointed to vet the environment impact assessments, the probe into the 105 environment impact assessments will be completed in April and submitted to the Goa government.

The opposition has accused several ministers in the Goa cabinet of being involved in illegal mining trade.

According to Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar, nearly 18 percent of Goa’s annual output of 40 million tonnes iron ore (worth Rs.6,000 crore approximately) is illegally mined.

–Indo-Asian News service
maya/skb/vt

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