Goa PAC to probe illegal mining in forests

August 10th, 2011 - 3:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Aug 10 (IANS) Goa’s public accounts committee (PAC) will investigate the increasing phenomenon of illegal mining encroaching upon the state’s forest cover, said the PAC head and the Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar Wednesday.

“All the data submitted by the departments will be probed by the PAC to look at how illegal mining has been encroaching into forest areas,” Parrikar told reporters.

“The comparison of data will help to project a real picture about illegal mining plundering Goa’s green cover,” he said.

The PAC had called for data from the state mines department as well as the state forest department, said an official on condition of anonymity.

“Nearly all mines in Goa are located in and around forest areas. The PAC is looking at cases where mining companies have carried out illegal mining by extending their leases into the nearby forests and in some cases blatantly taken over forest land for illegal mining,” the official said.

The data submitted by the departments from the mining-heavy sub-districts of Sanguem and Quepem in south Goa and some regions of north Goa were being probed, he added.

Goa exported a record 54 million tonnes of low grade iron ore last financial year to countries like China, Japan and Romania from the 100-odd operational mines in the hinterland.

The BJP has accused several cabinet ministers of the state government of being involved in the illegal mining trade.

Nearly 20 percent of Goa’s annual output of iron ore is illegally mined, according to Parrikar.

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