Panaji: Goa might have to face a "Japan-sized" calamity if rampant illegal mining in the state is not curbed, a spokesperson for the NGO Bharat Swabhiman Trust (BST) said on Monday.
The organisation, led by yoga guru Swami Ramdev, had zeroed in on illegal mining as one of the most critical issues concerning Goa, president of the group Bharat Ghullanawar told a press conference here.
"Considering the current pace of mining, which is extensively emptying our water bodies, converting paddy fields into mining pits and digging bottomless pits in the hills in the hinterland, things do not look very good for Goa," said Ghullanawar, whose BST has tied up with several activists and green organisations protesting against illegal and rampant mining.
"Across the whole of India there is permission for only 200 mining leases but one lakh illegal mining leases are operational in the country," Ghullanawar said.
According to data submitted in the monsoon session of the Goa Assembly, ore worth Rs 4,000 crore was illegally mined and exported out of Goa to countries like China, Japan and Romania.
Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar estimates that nearly 18 percent of Goa`s total 40 million-tonne 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.