SHWETA KAMAT talks to the industry players who are criticized for dust pollution and gets their views on the mining corridors
Reeling under severe criticism for decades for dust pollution and putting lives at risk, the iron ore mine owners have questioned government’s delay and failure in constructing dedicated corridors for transportation of ore. This criticism comes despite the lease holders contributing to the various funds, created for utilising the amount towards creating infrastructure and development in the mining affected areas.
The industry players had even recommended that construction of the second phase of mining corridor from Guddemol to Capxem (Sanvordem mining belt) would be more feasible considering the fact that maximum numbers of mines are operational in those areas having substantial transportation. They also feel that government needs to undertake carrying capacity study of all the roads having connectivity to the operational mines, to ascertain the situation.
Speaking to HERALD, mine owner Harish Melvani said “I am so much frustrated…government is simply not interested in doing anything. We have contributed so much towards royalty, district mineral fund and Goa iron ore permanent fund, despite that not a single rupee has been spent to create dedicated infrastructure…to ensure local people are not affected”.
He said that Government has earned revenue in form of royalty to the tune of Rs 310 crores, another Rs 150 crores in District Mineral Fund and Rs 200 crores are in Goa iron ore permanent fund. “These funds were created so that mining companies contribute towards development of those areas affected by mining activities. But till date, not a single project is been implemented through this fund,” Melvani said adding ‘mining corridors need to be funded through this’.
The mine owner also demanded that government should immediately undertake carrying capacity of each road, from where iron ore transportation takes place, and plan a bypass accordingly.
The Goa Mineral Ore Export Association’s (GMOEA) secretary Glenn Kalavampara said that the mine owners during last meeting on mining corridor had hinted that government should take up construction of the second phase of the mining corridor first. “The mining players pointed out the fact that majority of the mines are operational along the Sanvordem mining belt and hence there is substantial movement of trucks. Considering this, it would be feasible to take up the second phase that is Guddemol to Capxem,” he said.
When contacted, another mine owner, on request of anonymity said “the government has already claimed that the corridors would be constructed from the district mineral funds and the balance would be contributed by the government itself’.
The Union Ministry for Environment and Forest (MoEF) in a notification issued in 2015 had banned transportation of minerals by road passing through villages. It had said that new 'bypass' roads have to be created to transport minerals (leaving a gap of at least 200 mts) so impact of sound, dust and accidents is minimised.