Panaji, Nov 5 (IBNS) People dependent on the mining industry in Goa are agitated over Ministry of Environment and Forests' (MoEF's) stand to have 10 km buffer zone around the protected areas claiming that the closure of mines will have adverse effect on their livelihood.
Goa Mining People's Front (GMPF) claimed that the most affected will be people living in more than seven talukas who are directly dependent on the mining related activities.
"With 10 km buffer zone, many mining leases will be closed down and this will have adverse and cascading effect on the livelihood of the people. We strongly object the MoEF's stand in the Supreme Court," GMPF's convener Suhaas Naik said.
The organization has demanded that the Centre and State government find a solution to the crisis without disturbing the livelihood of the mining dependents.
"A fine balance between the environment and economic development has to be maintained...Overnight closing of mining industry in the name of demarcating buffer zone is not advisable," he said.
MoEF in an affidavit to the Supreme Court on November 2 pitched in for 10 km buffer zone, which the State government, seemingly, is not in favour of as it is pressing for 1-km buffer zone. The next hearing is scheduled in Nov-end.
The apex court is hearing a petition filed by NGO Goa Foundation seeking closure of all mines in the state. Local environmentalists are nonetheless contented over the fresh recommendation of the Centre.
The mining operations in Goa have been shut since early September after the Goa government suspended licenses of 90-odd mining leases based on Shah Commission's report pointing illegalities worth over Rs 35,000 crores. The Centre later suspended environmental clearances.
(Reporting by John Edwards)