Environment clearance to Goa mining project scrapped

New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) The environment and forests ministry Monday said the clearance given to an iron ore mining project in Goa has been kept in abeyance following an order from the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA).

The clearance given to Caremol iron ore mine in south Goa was scrapped after local groups challenged it in the NEAA.

The mine was granted an environment clearance by the ministry in September 2007. The clearance was challenged by a local group Gomantak Shetkari Sanghatana (GSS) before the NEAA.

Initially, the authority cleared the project following which the group challenged its decision in the Delhi High Court. On the instructions of the court, the case was reopened by the NEAA, which has now ruled against the project.

According to Ritwick Dutta of GSS, the NEAA was kept in dark by the firm about the river flowing within 50 metres of the mining project.

‘The main issue raised was the wrong declaration made in the environment impact assessment document. It said the river Kushawati is at a distance of 2.6 km whereas actually it is at a distance of only 50 metres,’ Dutta said.

Dutta said that a monument is within a distance of 500 metres from the mine and this fact also was not disclosed to the NEAA.

As the project is less than 10 km from the Cotigao and Netravali wild life sanctuaries, the ministry has been directed to seek a clearance from the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife, he said.