Board seeks bank guarantee from mining companies assuring no pollution to get consent to operate; No decision taken on Sonshi mines
PANJIM: While iron ore mining activities in Sonshi village in Sattari will remain at a halt for some more time, Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB), in a bid to avert dust pollution around mining sites, has directed all mining companies seeking to commence activities, to submit a bank guarantee assuring ‘No Pollution’, failing which the consent to operate will not be granted.
GSPCB met on Monday under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma to decide on whether to grant consent to operate to 39 mining leases, including 12 leases in Sonshi village.
The meeting resolved to direct mining companies to produce a bank guarantee, before it decides on their consent to operate under the Air and Water Pollution Act. The meeting also deferred the decision with regard to mining leases in Sonshi, wherein the Board felt the need for further monitoring of the ambient air quality in the village.
The guarantee amount is to be based on the area of
the lease. It will most likely be Rs 50 lakh for mining leases above 100 hectares, Rs 25 lakh for mining lease whose area is between 50 hectares and 100 hectares and Rs 12.5 lakh for mining leases below 50 hectares.
Speaking to Herald after the meeting, GSPCB Member Secretary Levinson Martins said the consent to operate would be granted only after they produce the bank guarantee and the Board is satisfied with the measures initiated by the firms to mitigate dust pollution.
“We need to be little stringent towards the mining firms. If a lease holder fails to control the air and water pollution in the vicinity, the bank guarantee will be seized by the Board,” he said.
“It is now for those 39 lease holders to decide, whether they want to produce bank guarantee now or when the new season resumes in October,” Martins said. The current season ends on May 31.
The Member Secretary said that ‘as far as mining in Sonshi is concerned, the Chairman has asked the Board to further monitor the air pollution and submit the report’. “No decision has been taken in case of 12 mines in Sonshi,” he said.
Mining activities at Sonshi are shut since April 28, after GSPCB declined to grant consent to operate to 12 out of 13 mining leases operational there due to dust pollution created.