Wednesday, 19 April 2017 16:39
Panaji: Chief minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday warned that the government would shut down mines if lease holders didn't take measures to control pollution in their respective areas of operation.
Parrikar, who was questioned about pollution caused by mining activity at Sonshi during a press conference, said he has met with officials of Vedanta Limited, the mining company involved in operations there, and given clear instructions to address the issue.
"I have now decided that if pollution isn't stopped and people want mines to be closed, I will do it," he said, even as he warned that villagers shouldn't later complain about loss of livelihoods and demand for grants from the government.
Earlier this week, 45 villagers from Sonshi were arrested for agitating against mining dust pollution in the area, even as the Parrikar-led government denied allegations that no efforts were made to avert their arrests.
The chief minister said that as far as Sonshi was concerned, it wasn't the mine that was causing pollution. "The source of the pollution is an untarred part of the road. I have asked that the section be tarred," he said, adding that trucks transporting mineral ore will use an alternative route till work on the road is completed.
Parrikar went on to say that the villagers of Sonshi were themselves part of the pollution since 82 trucks transporting ore through the area belonged to them.
At a meeting held with representatives of the mining company, he said that while appropriate measures were being taken to minimize dust pollution caused due to transportation, more mitigating solutions were required.
Instructions were subsequently issued to set up geonet fencing along the stretch of road that passed through residential areas of Sonshi. The mining lease holders were also asked to install wheel-washing systems at strategic places on top priority, together with cat-eyes and other road delineators along the ore transportation route, sources said. Lease holders were further asked to replace existing rumblers at their own cost once they received approval from the public works department.
Parrikar went on to say that the villagers of Sonshi were themselves part of the pollution that they have complained about, as 82 trucks transporting ore through the area belonged to them