Just before the iron ore mining came to temporary seasonal halt, the industry was embroiled in major controversy surrounding the pollution, with operation of mining leases in Sonshi village being found in violation of environmental norms leading to dust pollution. The biggest worry before the mining players is to curb the pollution or face action.
The operation of as many as 12 mining leases was suspended in April by the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB), after the villager’s complaint of dust pollution due to mining in Sonshi. The Board declined to grant Consent to operate to these leases- the decision which is still pending.
“Pollution in mining areas is serious issue. As we have said earlier, we are now asking for a bank guarantee from the mining companies assuring No pollution before granting consent to operate,” GSPCB member secretary Levinson Martins said.
Both GSPCB and the mining firms are in blame game over ambient quality of air in the mining belt is concerned. While mining firms claim that the reading by the air quality monitoring station is not accurate, the Board counters it. The miners have also declined to pay the bank guarantee stating that the amount towards environmental damage is already been provided to Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM).
The NGO like Goa Foundation and other green activists have taken serious note of the pollution in the mining areas and have urged GSPCB not to grant consent for operation of mines in those clusters.
Reeling under criticism of polluting the villages, the mining companies had roped in Indian School of Mines (ISM), Dhanbad to suggest measures for curbing pollution and also a concept for monitoring the air ambient quality in the mining areas. It has already submitted its report with various measures including self governing audit protocol of all the operational mines in the State.