Parrikar orders all 108 vehicles of Sonshi villagers to be utilised for their employment
PANJIM: The Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar, has warned that he would shut down the iron ore mines at Sonshi village in Sattari, if the lease operators fail to adhere to the government's directions to reduce the pollution in the village.
Parrikar has finally intervened to resolve the ongoing mining related crisis surrounding the Sonshi villagers - wherein he has directed the iron ore lease operators to provide employment as well as to initiate steps to reduce the air pollution in the area.
Parrikar on Tuesday held a meeting with the officials of Directorate of Mines and Geology (DMG), Public Works Department (PWD) and lease holders on the issue of transportation of ore from the village. In a series of directions issued to the lease holders, Chief Minister has directed them to continue the employment of 108 vehicles belonging to the villagers - who are currently left with no business.
As many as 45 villagers, including women are been lodged in Colvale central jail for the last 12 days, after they blocked the transportation of ore. Their children, marched to Valpoi police station for release of their parents.
Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, Parrikar said if the mining companies failed to address the pollution issues then all the operational mines in those areas will be shut down. “But then, I don’t want people to come to me complaining about no business and that their livelihood is affected and that they should be given grants,” he explained.
During the meeting, the Chief Minister felt that though appropriate measures to minimize pollution caused due to transportation in the village are in place from the mining firms, further reduction of pollution levels as also mitigation measures in the interest of villagers residing along the transportation route are required.
Chief Minister has directed that immediate steps be initiated for geonet fencing along the road in vicinity of residential areas of the village. Also installation of cat-eye and other road delineation measures are to be carried out along mining route passing through the village.
The lease holders are been directed to install rumblers on top priority at strategic places so as to replace the existing speed breakers/ humps with due NOC from PWD. There are also been asked to install wheel washing system at strategic places on priority basis.
It was pointed out that whilst vehicles pass on untarred shoulders, thus resulting into dust pollution. Hence there is need that the shoulders of the existing road are to be tarred immediately with necessary cooperation from PWD at the cost of mining companies.
Also the DMG has now changed the transportation route, bypassing the residential area, in the interest of the villagers.
Meanwhile, the Vedanta Limited, through a press statement issued on Wednesday has said that it will comply with all the conditions laid down by the Government. “We are committed to the welfare of all stakeholders and will abide by all the directions of the government. We work towards creating better socio-economic environment for the communities in the area,” the official statement reads.