Saturday 24 February 2024

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Economy | Mining

19 mines around Selaulim to be shut down

 

Selaulim reservoir (right side in a photo) in 2006 (left) & 2011 (right)

Chief minister Manohar Parrikar plans to shut down all the mines falling in the catchment area of Selaulim water reservoir. The government has already identified 19 such mines, which are polluting the water of Selaulim.

However, refuting the claim of environmental groups fighting illegal mining, the chief minister refuses to buy the argument that the drinking water of Selaulim has already been highly polluted with high content of manganese.

Ramesh Gawas, the social activist fighting illegal mining, points out that 55 per cent of Goan population drinks water coming from Selaulim water treatment plant. The majority population lives in Salcete and Mormugao taluka and 32 per cent of it lives in Salcete alone, he adds.

While talking to HCN channel, Gawas even recalled the government reply in the recent Assembly session that the manganese content in Selaulim water is 3.5 mg, which is three times more than the permissible limit.

“The findings are not correct. The water is not harmful for drinking purpose. More dangerous are the mines around the dam, which are bringing all the silt in the reservoir”, said Parrikar while talking to HCN channel.

PWD executive engineer S R Paranjape, in-charge of the facility, had in the past confirmed that manganese content has gone up six folds from the usual 0.5 mg to 3.0 mg as the mining dumps stacked alongside the rivers feeding water to the reservoir are getting washed into it due to rains.

The government records state that there are 19 mines located within 500 metres of Selaulim water reservoir, of which 17 are within 200 metres.

“I cannot understand how the union ministry of environment and forest gave clearances to all these mines”, says Parrikar.

In the Shah Commission report, one Google image from the satellite shows very clearly how ore content has silted into the reservoir in five years, from 2006 to 2011.

Figure 57 in the section of Google images shows a mining lease belonging to Noor Mohamad Abdul Karim of Margao, in Curpem of Sanguem taluka.Unknown persons mined near Selaulim dam. Left image is of 2006

In addition, Shah Commission has identified three mines in and around the Selaulim reservoir with a total area of 83 hectares. Nobody knows till date who was extracting iron ore from here.

Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Richard D’Souza has assured the group of environmentalists that they would initiate investigation to find out who were the culprits.

One of the areas mentioned in the report is a pit of 6.21 hectares next to the Selaulim dam. The Google images of 2006 and 2011 clearly indicate how ore has been extracted right in the middle of a thick forest.

The other two areas fall in the Netravali wild life sanctuary, which have been operational since 2003. The areas are 70 hectares and 26.60 hectares.

“The government needs to realize that no man-made reservoir like Selaulim can be created without preserving the natural reservoirs in the forest,” observes Gawas.

While agreeing to this contention, Parrikar has said categorically that there is no question of allowing these mines to operate in future, in order to save our water bodies and the drinking water facility for the majority population of Goa.

(Courtesy: HCN)


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Ratikant , UAE....I think each an every Goan ,bar a few involved in Mining Criminality ,will agree with you , that the Rs. 35,000 Crores must be recovered, punitive damages levied, and further, all Mining Criminals prosecuted & Jailed.

This is a serious crime.It has destroyed peoples lives, health and also destroyed the natural eco balance.

During the Bhopal chemical incident involving Union Carbide,The indian Government demanded compensation for all those affected.

Similarly, Goans must demand compensation and retribution from these Mining Criminals & Bureaucrats and also including Ministers.

Digamber Kamat was most definitely involved in Mining scams.He cannot blame everyone else but himself.

The buck stops with him.If the Law dept was wrong...sack the lot of them.

 
n.fernandes , London

Good! Now 19 mines.OK that is a good start.

First things Fiirst.

Let CM close 19 mines now. Rest will follow. we hope he suceeds in closing. All the illegal mines in Goa.

Second step to recover the 35000crores from the existing gangster mine owners and prosecute them and auction the leases to the highest bidders. Close the offices of Salgaoncars, Bandekars, Bandodksrs, Timblo, Chowgule, Sesa etc. They have looted Goans enough for decades now. The illegal wealth and accumulated curses from the poor villagers and entire Goans are enough for them and their generations to come.

 
Ratikant , UAE

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