Parrikar warns mining companies over dust pollution

first_imgGoa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday warned that he would stop operations in those mining leases, if dust pollution-related complaints over transportation of ore from local residents continue. Mr. Parrikar, while talking to media at the State Secretariat on Wednesday evening, however ruled out freeing 45 villagers from Sonshi village in North Goa’s Sattari taluk, who are in police custody since April 11, for protesting against pollution caused during transportation of iron ore from mining leases surrounding the village.He disclosed that the government has issued stringent guidelines to miners to control the dust pollution in truck transportation of iron ore after people protested about it.”But if the pollution does not stop, villagers continue to complain, I will stop the mining production. I have no problem. But then people should not come to me saying that we are now without business, therefore, give us some grant or loan. That also cannot be done,” Mr. Parrikar said. When asked if his office would take a humanitarian view vis-a-vis the prolonged police custody of the 45 villagers (including 23 women and senior citizens) agitating against dust pollution, Mr. Parrikar said: “How can I release them? In one way you are asking me to follow the law in case of road accidents. Here someone had blocked the traffic. So there is a crime committed. Police filed cases and they were given opportunity to sign bail bond and get released. They refused it”. Mr. Parrikar further said that Sesa Goa, a mining major which runs some of the leases near Sonshi village, had even offered to pay money towards the bail bond, in order to release the villagers, but the latter had refused. “Sesa Goa was willing to pay bond money,” Mr. Parrikar said recalling his conversation with Speaker Pramod Sawant, when it was pointed out by a journalist that the bond money was too huge, amounting to Rs.10,000 each, for the poor villagers. He was also quick to point out that while the villagers complained of pollution, there were 108 vehicles which were owned by the villagers of Sonshi, which were operating in ore transportation in the mining areas and also were part of that pollution issue. The simmering Sonshi pollution issue and the police custody of 45 villages from April 11 has also come in for severe criticism from the Opposition Congress. Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Luizinho Faleiro on Tuesday said that children were unable to go to school even though they were released as their parents were in police custody. There is a public ourtage over the issue in Goa as it has been extensively reported in local media that minor children of the arrested even took out a morcha to the local police station demanding their parents’ release.last_img