Buffer zones have no legal sanctity: CM

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Stating that “buffer zones have no legal sanctity,” the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar on Monday said that “demarcation of buffer...

PANAJI: Stating that “buffer zones have no legal sanctity,” the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar on Monday said that “demarcation of buffer zones is no guarantee for environment protection.”

It may be recalled that the state government, based on the recommendations of the central empowered committee (CEC) formed under the directions of the Supreme Court, has decided to recommend to the Centre as well as the Supreme Court, one km buffer zone around the wildlife sanctuaries and parks in Goa.
Informally speaking to pressmen at the premiere show of the Marathi film, ‘Gadya Aapula Gaon Bara’ at the Maquinez Palace, the Chief Minister said that once a buffer zone is demarcated, it automatically means that the land under the particular zone is surrendered to the central government. “And then the central government, subject to the permission of the National Wildlife Board can undertake any project on this land including that related to agriculture, eco-tourism or even something that the locals might not desire,” he warned.
Coming out strongly against the individuals and organisations who want total closure of mining industry in Goa, the Chief Minister said that if such a thing does happen, then he can generate revenue for the state from sources other than mining. “However, I would definitely not be able to provide employment to all those people who would face unemployment due to shutting down of the mining industry,” Mr Parrikar added, pointing out that even at the cost of saving environment, he just cannot ignore the unemployment scenario that would threaten Goa. He also noted that the law and order situation that would arise in the state due to the constant agitations of such unemployed people would be another serious matter.
Speaking further, Mr Parrikar said that a number of applications are being regularly received by the government for allotment of fresh mining leases, however, that does not mean the government is bound to clear them. “As far as the government is concerned, all such applications are deemed null and void,” the Chief Minister said, assuring that all news reports about government set to clear applications for new mining leases are totally baseless. He categorically stated that no such applications would be entertained at least for the next five years.
Ironically, the Chief Minister brought to the notice that underground mining is being explored in Wales, in the United Kingdom, just as excavation and dragging is being carried out at the world heritage site namely Coral Islands in Tasmania, in Australia. 
Replying to a question, the Chief Minister said that the order as regards constitution of the Justice R M S Khandeparkar committee, which will look into the issues raised by the Shah Commission report, would be issued in the next 2-3 days.