Panaji: The Goa State Pollution Control Board
(GSPCB) has ordered sealing of a mine in South Goa village after local tribals staged protests and laid siege to various government offices here, fearing mining on a sacred mountain
in the area.
GSPCB, in a late night order, ordered shutdown of M/s
Devpan ou Devadongor Iron and Manganese Private Limited`s mine
at Caurem village in South Goa as they failed to comply with
the air and water pollution norms.
The order came after a day-long agitation by 150 tribals
under banner of Caurem Adivasi Bachao Samiti, which initially
met State Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and later held
protests at the office of GSPCB.
After travelling 100 kilometres from their village to
Panaji, the group even demonstrated in front of the State
Mines and Geology Department office forcing Mines Director
Arvind Lolienkar to sign an order asking the mine owner to
shift the machinery immediately.
The tribals resorted to agitation after the mining lease,
which was dormant all these years, was revived some months
back against all the norms. They fear that the mining activity
will destroy the mountain, which has rich inhabitation and is
a perennial water source.
Caurem tribals worship the mountain, which has allegedly
been targeted by the company.
"We don`t even pluck a leaf from that mountain. How can
we allow a mining firm to swallow it entirely," questioned a
67-year-old woman, who was the part of the group.
The protesters refused to budge till late evening even as
the government officials assured them to sign an appropriate
order on Wednesday.
Bowing to the pressure, GSPCB issued an order asking
local police inspector to seal the mine.
Subsequently, the Mines department also issued another
order asking the mining firm to withdraw all their machinery
from the site by 5 pm today.