Local panchayats wary of ban on iron ore export

Fearing that the Shah Commission, might put a ban on iron ore exports, members of village panchayats here have started appealing to the state government, through advertisements.

Panaji: Fearing that the Shah Commission,
probing the illegal mining in Goa, might put a ban on iron ore
exports, members of village panchayats here have started
appealing to the state government, through advertisements in
leading newspapers, not to stop the mining activities in the
state.

A series of advertisements in leading newspapers in
Goa are showing the panchayat members, requesting the state
government with folded hands, not to close down the mines,
which, they say, could lead to unemployment, starvation and
other serious issues.

In one such advertisement, the Collem panchayat in the
mining belt of Sanguem, has given five days of "deadline" to
the state government, "to save Goa and its people, dependent
on mining, from serious consequences of social and economic
crisis."

Sarpanch of Collem panchayat, Sandeep Desai said that
the state government should explain to the Shah Commission the
importance of mining in Goa`s economy and people`s huge
dependence on it. "Government should tell the Commission that
if lawful mining activities are curtailed or stopped, it would
have grave consequences," he said.

Justice M B Shah Commission, enquiring into the
illegal mining activity in the state, is expected to give its
first report on December 1. Justice Shah had given indications
that a ban on export of iron ore was likely.

The panchayats have also demanded that there should
be no buffer-zone between wildlife sanctuaries and mines,
which will save several mines from being shut down.

Several mines in the state are tapping the ore right
next to the boundary of wildlife sanctuary, which has been
objected to by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest.

State Forest Minister Filipe Neri Rodrigues said that
the state government cannot go by the media advertisements,
without applying its own mind or examining the legalities.

He said that six different committees have been
formed to work out sanctuary-specific buffer zones. "All the
six committees would give their report within a month," he
added.

PTI

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