Panaji: Goa government on Monday told the Legislative Assembly that there was no illegal mining in forest areas of the state and 26 sanctioned mining leases were operating after environmental clearance.
State Forest and Environment Minister Alina Saldanha told the Assembly session that "there is no illegal mining being carried out in the forest areas."
"The list given on the floor of the House mentioned that there are 26 mining leases which are operational by state`s mining giants including VM Salgaoncar & Bros Pvt Ltd, Sociedade Timblo Irmao Ltd and Talaulicar & Sons Pvt Ltd.
Salgaoncar & Bros have six mines in forest areas while Sociedade Timblo Irmao have four.
Saldanha said legal mining was being permitted in forest areas after the user agency (mine owner) obtained clearance under Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 from the Government of India.
Denying any illegal mining in forest areas, Saldanha said, "If any illegal mining in forest areas is observed, action is taken to stop the mining activity and concerned agencies or authorities are informed to take legal action as per law."
State mines and geology department had recently written a letter to both the North and South Goa district collectors asking them to identify any illegal mining in forest areas.
The government has also asked the ground level officials to identify whether forest areas were used to store the illegally extracted ore.