Bharat Swabhiman Trust (BST), supported by Yoga guru Swami Ramdev, has decided to take up the anti-mining campaign in Goa by bringing activists under one banner.
“Pan-India there is permission for only 200 mining leases but one lakh illegal mines are operational in the country,” BST’s North Goa Chief Bhartesh Ghullanawar today alleged.
He also said that Swami Ramdev will hold a public meeting here on March 25.
“Goa will have Japan-like crisis considering the current pace of mining, which is extensively polluting our water-bodies and converting paddy fields into mining pits,” Ranu Prabhudesai, an anti-mining activist, said.
As per rough estimates, 18 per cent of the iron ore exported from Goa comes from illegal mines. The state has 100-odd (legal) mining leases.
Dattaram Desai, another activist, said they were only opposing illegal mining. “We are against irrational and illegal mining. But legal mines, too, should be regulated,” said Desai, who earlier headed massive agitation against Thapar Du Pont Limited’s project here.
Kalidas Sawaikar, an award-winning farmer, said the mining industry can be replaced by cashew cultivation, which can fetch equal amount of foreign exchange.
Other activists including Krishna Pednekar said some mines which were abandoned 57 years ago are being revived without proper clearances. “These mines should have been shut down permanently,” he said.