Environmentalist Ramesh Gawas on Sunday cautioned that Goa’s water bodies are facing a threat from the mining projects that have come up in their vicinity and said the State’s rivers are at the mercy of mining.
Speaking at a programme organized by Human Rights Law Network at Panjim, he pointed out that 21 mines are operating within the radius of one kilometer of the Khandepar river which feeds the Opa Water Reservoir from where water is supplied to nearly 30 per cent of the Goan population living in North Goa. Similarly, the Selaulim reservoir that caters to the drinking water needs of 54 per cent of Goa’s population is also affected by mining, he said.
As for the Kushawati River in the South, there are 37 mines within a radius of one kilometer and Goa’s other major river – the Mandovi – has 37 loading points from where ore is loaded in the barges and further disclosed that there are 27 mining leases in Mandovi’s catchment area.
In fact, he said the mining operations around Mandovi generates nearly 1.01 lakh tones of mining reject every year of which nearly 70,000 tones are deposited in the river. He also pointed out that the mining heaps on the banks of the river is a clear violation of the Coastal Zone Regulation Rules.
He further pointed out that as against the official government figure of 100 odd mining leases, there are as many as 825 mining operations going on in Goa which contribute to the nearly 40-metric million tones of ore exports. In fact, he said there are 95 mining leases being operated along the 105 km long North-South length of the State.