Panaji: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC)
constituted by the Goa Legislative Assembly will now probe
into the increasing illegal mining activities, carried out at
the cost of forest cover in state`s iron-ore rich rural belt.
The Committee has begun an exercise to study the data
submitted by State Forests and State Mines and Geology
Departments to pinpoint the exact amount of plundering of ore
resources in the state`s remote talukas.
PAC led by Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar has
begun the probe into illegal mining in Sattari, Quepem and
Sanguem talukas, which have maximum forest cover.
The talukas are also home to protected forests like
Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhagwan Mahaveer National Park
and Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, the area which is tipped to be
declared as a `Tiger Reserve` by Central Ministry of
Environment and Forest (MoEF).
Sources stated that both the departments were
initially reluctant to submit the detailed data, which was
finally procured when Chief Secretary Sanjay Srivastava, was
summoned by the high-power committee on Monday.
The multi-crore illegal mining scam was exposed in the
Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) report, which is being
further probed by the PAC.
When contacted, Parrikar said the Committee will go
through the data and investigate illegal mining in these
talukas with rich forest cover. The comparison of data will
help to project a real picture, he said.
The Leader of Opposition in past had raised concerns on
the mining in Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary and cutting of
trees to allow the iron ore extraction.
Parrikar said PAC will not fix the responsibility on
individuals but will point out how forests are being plundered
in these rural talukas.