Govt will support legal mining: Goa CM



Panaji: Amid fears that a ban on mining will result in large number of people losing their livelihood, Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat on Friday said his government would support only sustainable and legal extraction in the state.

Kamat told agency that fears expressed by people about collapse of the economy are genuine only to a certain extent.

"People fear that their livelihood would be affected with ban on mining activity. But state government's stand is clear. We will support sustainable and legal mining in the state," he said.

Thousands of people had thronged to Panaji on October 12 demanding assurance from the government that legal mining is not banned in the state. People dependent on mining like truck operators had apprehended that there would be a total ban on mining after the Shah Commission submits its report.

In the recent past, nearly half of the 90 odd mining leases in the state have been ordered to suspend operations by state and central authorities and the court for various violations.

Kamat said mining is not new to the state of Goa. "It has been happening right from the Portuguese time. Now, due to (high) demand for the ore and rate that it fetches, people are digging even in their private properties and extracting ore, which is illegal."

"Government has been taking action against such activity. Even with regard to legal mining, there is an issue of environmental damage. The state government wants to ensure that there is a balance between environment and mining," he added.

Kamat also pointed out that the mining activity is not going to continue forever as iron ore reserves are bound to get exhausted.

"We have formulated micro-industrial zones in the Regional Plan in the villages so that people dependent on mining can diversify in other trades," he said.

Regional Plan 2021 is a land use plan notified by the state government for all the 12 talukas.

Kamat said that once there is sufficient industrial growth in these areas, people will have an option to the mining activity.

PTI