Mining is damaging rivers of Goa, says an activist

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Panaji, Feb 6 (PTI) Water bodies and rivers in Goa arefacing a serious threat of pollution and silting due to theiron-ore mining, a veteran anti-mining activist today said.

Rivers, especially, are "at the mercy of mining", saidwell-known environmentalist and activist Ramesh Gawas.

"In the case of Khandepar river, which feeds Opareservoir, there are 21 mines in one kilometre radius," Gawassaid during a seminar on Litigation against corruption forhuman rights'' here.

Khandepar river supplies water to 30 per cent of theGoan population, he said.

Goa exports around 40 million metric tones of iron oreevery year. According to Gawas, there are 825 mining sites inthe state, as against the official figure of 100-odd sites.

Mining along the banks is ruining rivers, he said. Thereare 37 mines in the space of one kilometre along Kushavatiriver, which has lost its "natural identity", he alleged.

Mandovi river, Goa''s lifeline, has 37 loading points fromwhere Iron ore is transferred to ships. Gawas claimed thatthere are 27 mining sites in the catchment area of Mandovi.

"The mines around Mandovi generate 1.01 lakh tones ofmining reject annually. 70,000 cubic tones of mining particlesare deposited in the river every year," he alleged.

He said there were mining heaps right along the riverbanks, in a blatant violation of Coastal Regulation Zonerules.

Mining has posed a threat of pollution even to Selaulimdam, which provides drinking water for 54 per cent of Goa�spopulation, the activist alleged.

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