The Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB), in a late evening meeting on Wednesday, decided to grant the consent to operate to seven mines in the Sonshi cluster with a recommendation to reduce the extraction capacity of the mines.
Six mines issued environmental clearance (EC) under the 1994 notification will be issued show cause notice for withdrawal of consent, decided the GSPCB.
The GSPCB held a crucial board meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma to resolve the pending issue of consent to operate to 39 leases. Of these, the GSPCB granted 19 consents – seven in Sonshi and 12 outside the cluster. The decision on Polo Dongor lease and two other leases has been deferred for identification of an alternative route.
It may be noted that operations of 13 mining leases in Sonshi were suspended by the GSPCB in April, following complaints from villagers of high pollution and suo motu cognisance of it by the High Court of Bombay at Goa.
The GSPCB had also slapped bank guarantee on all leaseholders due to which several had not come forward to renew the consent. Only six leaseholders had provided the bank guarantee. The new mining season opens on October 1 and the industry was awaiting clarity on the consent from the GSPCB.
Consent of three mines in Sonshi village has been kept in abeyance. These include two Soceide de Fomento mines and one of Cosme Costa.