Proposed buffer zone likely to eat into half of Goa mines

May 09, 2012, 01:57 IST | PTI

Almost half of Goa's mining leases stand on the brink of closure as the state Forest Department is all set to submit its final report demarking the buffer zone in the state on May 12.

Two committees set up by the Goa Forest Department, which will submit their final report to the state government, are likely to suggest the radius of three to five kilometers as the buffer zone around wildlife sanctuaries, depending on the eco sensitivity of the region. 

"As many as 44 mines would be affected, if committees proposed three to five kilometers as buffer zone around wildlife sanctuaries," Chief Wildlife Warden Richard D'Souza told PTI.

Goa has a total of 90 operational mining leases, most of them abutting the forest areas, besides five wildlife sanctuaries and one National Park. The state-level committees which were mandated to suggest the buffer zone will give their area-wise findings in their report.

Meanwhile, sources in the forest department revealed that the committees will not abide by the Centre's direction to have a 10-km uniform buffer zone around the sanctuaries.

Goa's mining industry is on toes ahead of submission of the report and the subsequent decision of the state government on the buffer zone.

In 2007, a committee headed by a bureaucrat Rajiv Yaduvanshi had recommended "zero buffer zone", triggering protests from the environmentalists.

Goa's flora and fauna is under threat over the increasing invasion of mining. Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had recently asked seven mines to suspend operations for encroaching upon the forest areas.

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