PANJIM: The Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Goa Government to consider constituting a Special Task Force (STF) to deal with the illegal mining of minor minerals in the State.
The tribunal has also asked the State government to submit progress report on the action initiated by the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) by way of prohibitory and coercive measures including prosecution and recovery of compensation for damage to the environment.
The directions are issued in an application filed by Goa Paryavaran Savrakshan Sangharsh Samitee, who had approached the Green Bench with regards to illegal quarrying of stone, basalt, rubble stones in Pernem taluka and other parts of the State.
In its submission before the tribunal, the State government has informed that action has been initiated against all those who were involved in illegal extraction of minor minerals in Pernem taluka. The Samitee also said that not just in Pernem, but illegal mining activities are taking place in the entire State.
“The State of Goa may consider constituting of a Special Task Force to deal with the issues having regards to the magnitude of the problem,” the bench comprising of Chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel, said.
NGT has directed the State to frame proper policy guidelines and Manual of Standard Operating Procedures to deal with illegal mining of minor minerals. It has also said that State should hold training programme for its officers for upholding the Environmental Rule of Law in the State.
The tribunal has asked Chief Secretary to monitor the progress every month.
As far as filling of pits and restoration of the environment is concerned owing to illegal mining, the Advocate General appearing for the State has fixed a tentative timeline of six months and has assured to submit quarterly report to the tribunal on the progress.
Further progress of the report in the matter is to be filed on or before July 10.