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Mining: Goa circular lists tough measures to mitigate damages

Our Bureau Panaji | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on May 22, 2015

Green activist releases contents of the circular kept under wraps

A circular, “Impact of Mining activities on Habitations - Issues related to the mining projects wherein habitations and villages are the part of mine lease areas or habitations and villages are surrounded by the mine lease area” has been kept under wraps by the Environment Ministry since October 2014.

Releasing the contents of the circular, Claude Alvares, an environmental activist who heads Goa Foundation which is fighting illegal mining cases in the Supreme Court, on Friday said that it does not appear in any public domain or on the MOEF’s website.

A meeting was held under the chairmanship of MS Nagar, Experts’ Appraisal Committee (EAC) (Non Coal Mining Sector) in June 2014, after which suggestions made by the expert committee in respect of mining and village communities across the country were examined by the Ministry and it was decided that they may be included as a condition of environmental clearances to mitigate the adverse impact of mining operations in the case of such habitations/villages. The Ministry has since decided to accept the recommendations of the EAC.

The most important directives to mitigate damage done by mining operations included recommendation not to allow transportation of minerals on roads passing through a village, instead new ‘bypass’ roads have to be created to transport minerals (leaving a gap of at least 200 metres) so impact of sound, dust and accidents is minimised. Secondly, it suggested building of adequate number of check dams, retaining walls, drains and settling ponds to arrest wash off with rain water in the catchment area.

EAC said it must be ensured that the water table never goes below the pre-mining period. In case of water scarcity, project authorities are responsible to provide water for the use of the village.

The floodlights from the mines must face away from villages and noise levels should be kept well within limits so as to not disturb the biological clock of the villagers.

The circular says the project authority must carry out vibration studies before undertaking any blasting as part of mining activity to evaluate the zone of influence and impact of blasting on the neighbourhood. It further states that the productivity of agricultural crops should not be affected by mining operations. The project proponents must ensure a crop liability insurance policy to compensate for any crop loss.

Published on May 22, 2015
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