Panaji: More than half of Goa`s mining leases are close to rivers and water bodies and three are next to a major dam, the State Assembly was told Monday.
According to a reply tabled in the House, there are 182 mining leases which are in the proximity of a kilometre to rivers or water bodies in the coastal state.
Water Resources Minister Philip Rodrigues tabled this list today which mentions that there are also three mining leases operating within one kilometre of Salaulim Irrigation
Dam, a project which feeds potable water to half of Goa.
The government had earlier stated that Goa has 300 mining leases and the industry is considered as a backbone of the state`s economy.
"All these mines having proximity to river bodies are located in the rural talukas of Sattari, Bicholim, Ponda, Sanguem and Quepem, which also has majority of state`s forest
cover," he said today.
Also, three mining leases function within one kilometre of Mayem lake, a tourist spot sought after by honeymooners.
Almost all the major mining firms -- Sesa Goa Limited, Soc Timblo Irmaos Limited, Chowgule and Co. Ltd, V M Salgaoncar & Bros Pvt, have their leases almost touching the water bodies.
The minister said that legal action cannot be taken against these mining leases as most of them do not come within legal framework of water resources department.
In all, 29 rivers and water bodies including Mhadei, Bicholim, Khandepar, Kushavati, Assnora, Guleli and tributaries like Maulinguem nullah, Kudnem, Harvalem nullah,
Surla nullah, are near these leases.