Panaji: The Supreme Court ban on the “voracious” iron ore mining in Goa may have saved the state from ecological peril, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has said. At a book release function in the state capital late Friday, Parsekar said though mining was necessary to fuel the state’s economy, it was also necessary to simultaneously maintain an ecological balance. “It is time we introspect and plan for future. About two and a half years ago, the Supreme Court was compelled to intervene, because we were too voracious without understanding the ecological balance,” the chief minister said.
“Mining activity had increased to such an extent that if it was to continue, probably in a decade, I don’t know what would have been the state of Goa,” he added. Mining in Goa was banned by the Supreme Court in 2012 after a judicial commission exposed a Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scam, blaming a nexus of Goa’s mining companies, politicians and bureaucrats. In 2010-11, nearly 54 million tonnes of iron ore was exported from Goa, out of which nearly a third was estimated as illegal mined iron ore. Goa at the time contributed to nearly 21 percent of India’s total iron ore production.
After nearly three years of the ban, the Goa government is now gearing up for resumption of mining, but Parsekar says that there is need for caution. “Of course as a head of the state, I do have consideration for mining… it helps economy… We need to keep in mind the ecological balance while we are involved in the development,” he said. “We need to take care of nature. We need not be too greedy as regards mining. As a government we are for restarting of mining, but that has to be controlled mining. It has to be in line with nature. We have to maintain the balance therein,” he also said.