Goa mining: Environment won’t be harmed, says Gadkari

Panaji [Goa] [India]: Union Minister for Shipping and Water Resources, Nitin Gadkari, on Tuesday said the Centre will ensure that no harm to the environment is caused.

Gadkari’s statement comes at a time when the Supreme Court on March 16 quashed the second renewal of iron ore mining leases given to 88 companies in Goa in 2015.

“We will not compromise with any air or water pollution in the matter. International parameters will be maintained and a study will be conducted to keep a check on the pollution level,” said Gadkari, who is on a visit to the state following an agitation by mine owners over the order.

The minister said his party would take an action after consulting top lawyers.

Gadkari also asked all the stakeholders to consult their lawyers as well and added that the party would later consult Attorney General K. K. Venugopal and that his opinion would stand as the BJP’s decision.

Meanwhile, he also appealed the people of Goa to stay calm and said their development and welfare was Centre’s and the Goa government’s topmost priority.

Hundreds of protestors agitated here on Monday against the top court’s decision. Several roads were blocked in the capital of the state as people dependent on the mining industry, including truck and barge owners, joined the demonstration.

The Supreme Court in its directive said fresh leases would be issued only after the companies get environment clearances. The court also ordered the government to start a fresh auction process.

Gadkari said the central government is sympathetic towards the stakeholders, miners, poor, and truck owners, and the government will take a decisive action to resolve the situation.

Talking about Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s health, Gadkari said he had a chat with the former Defence Minister on Monday and was sure that his treatment in the US would prove beneficial for his health.

He also added that India, which has a 7,500-km-long coastline, can help in the nation’s development while also boosting the tourism industry.

“The coastline has been a boon to Goa’s tourism and its biggest advantage is that 49 percent of the capital investment is utilised for job creation,” the Minister for Roads, Transport and Highways said. (ANI)