Panaji: Long stretches of fertile paddy fields in villages of Navelim-Kudnem-Sankhalim in North Goa, have turned into big dusty grounds with piles of iron ore
stocked on it.
Locals here claim that illegal mining industry is rapidly gulping landmasses, which were earlier fertile territories.
Farming is slowly turning into a unviable profession and
farmers are becoming businessmen overnight. The mining
industry is increasingly using these plots to stock the
extracted ore, which is later transported illegally through
built jetties on Mandovi river.
The lands have converted from fertile fields to Iron Ore stock yards overnight and environmentalists point out that every year more landmass is being converted illegally.
State Mines and Geology department figures procured under Right to Information (RTI) by environmentalists claim that there are only 15 plots registered with the department to be used for ore-stocking.
But the reality is different.
"There are several hundred plots which have come up in this area since last seven years," local Congress legislator Pratap Gawas told a news agency.
Gawas alleged that there is a nexus between local panchayats and plot owners.
"It’s for panchayats to stop this abuse of land but they don`t act. We checked the records but panchayats have not given any NOC for such a use of land," he said.
These plots usually are situated outside the mining lease so that any illegally extracted ore can be dumped here.
According to renowned environmentalist Ramesh Gawas these plots are also being used to set up machines which crush lumps of ore into fines.