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Centre bans mining in sensitive zones along sanctuaries in Goa

PTI | Last Updated: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 17:53

New Delhi: No mining will be allowed around the Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) of six wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Goa with the Environment Ministry on Thursday imposing a ban on such activities.

The central government shall also constitute state level ESZ Monitoring Committee (SESZMC) under section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 to monitor the compliance of the ESZ notification for the state.

The six sanctuaries where mining has been prohibited are Cotigao wildlife sanctuary, Netravali Wild Life Sanctuary, Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary and Madei Wildlife Sanctuary.

The ministry in its notification has prohibited all new and existing mining of minor and major minerals, stone quarrying and crushing units with immediate effect in all the six sanctuaries.

However in cases of Bhagwan Mahaveer and Netravali Wildlife Sanctuaries, the existing mining would be phased out based on state government`s plans.

"The existing mining leases (major or minor minerals) shall be phased out in a time bound manner (five or ten years) subject to the final orders of Supreme Court of India," said the notification on Bhagwan Mahaveer and Netravali Wildlife Sanctuaries.

The ministry in its notification said the state government shall also ensure that a proper and rigorous mine closure plan for rehabilitation and ecological restoration of the mined out area shall be completed in the quickest possible time as per the Indian Bureau of Mines norms.

"No mining activity shall be permitted beyond the phasing out time period of five years or ten years," the notification said for these two sanctuaries.

The SESZMC will comprise of the Chief Secretary of the state as the Chairman while there will be representative environment ministry, State Pollu ion Control Board, NGO nominated by state government on environment, community based organisation, representatives of state government from rural development, agriculture, urban development and housing, mining and ports and transport departments.

The MoEF order follows approval of the report of the committee that it had constituted to survey natural boundaries of six Protected Areas in Goa in relation to the establishment of ESZs.

Among the six wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, ESZ will be for three kilometres all along the periphery of Cotigao wildlife sanctuary`s boundary.

However for the other five sanctuaries, the ESZ will be for one kilometres all along the periphery of its boundary.

The SESZMC will submit the annual action taken report of its activities by March 31 every year to the Environment Ministry.
The SESZMC will also be given directions by the ministry for effective discharge of their functions.
Meanwhile, in order for effective management of the ESZ, the ministry has also asked the Goa government to prepare a Zonal Master Plan within a period of two years in consultation with local people which would be considered and approved by the ministry.

First Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 17:53
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