Panjim: Accusing the State government of encouraging “illegal mining”, farmers from iron ore rich talukas of Bicholim and Sattari have decided to promote a community mining initiative in their villages, to ensure that the national wealth does not go in hands of handful companies.
Addressing media persons under the banner of ‘Mining Affected Village Farmers and Nagrik Association of Goa’, the farmers also demanded that the government should take immediate steps to restore their farms, which are destroyed as a result of rampant and unsupervised mining activities including transportation of ore.
A farmer from Pissurlem Hanuman Parab alleged that despite COVID pandemic, large-scale illegal transportation of ore and fresh excavations have taken place in Pissurlem village itself.
“Even though, the Supreme Court allowed transportation of only royalty paid ore, the government allowed lease holders to transport even the ore, for which no royalty was paid,” he said.
Parab alleged that the government is once again encouraging ‘illegal mining activities to protect the interest of handful mining companies’.
“We are not going to let this happen. It’s a national wealth. We villagers will now run mining. We will promote community mining. Will reach out to all mining villages and create awareness,” he said.
“If required, will also approach the Supreme Court for necessary directions,” the farmer added.
Another farmer from Mayem Sakharam Pednekar informed that the farmers had moved the High Court earlier this year against the large-scale destruction of their fields, nullahs due to mining.
He also pointed out that heavy siltation of their fields, water bodies used for fishing/ irrigation and nullahs that caused massive damage and losses. “Following the High court directions, the Goa State Pollution Board and State Mines Department had inspected the mining sites and had put across several recommendations for restoration. However nothing has happened,” Pednekar added.
The farmer further pointed out that the government had failed to take measures to prevent erosion and collapse of the dumps and stacks of mining waste, threatening their lands with severe siltation and flooding in the impending monsoon.