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Goa govt to meet over farmers distress in iron ore regions

Devdiscourse News Desk Panaji
Updated: 06-12-2018 19:16 IST
Goa govt to meet over farmers distress in iron ore regions

The Goa assembly

The Goa government has called a high-level meeting on December 12 to discuss the problems being faced by farmers in the iron ore mining belt, where operations have come to a halt following a Supreme Court order.

Cultivators are facing severe shortage of water for irrigation as rivulets in the belt have almost dried up.

However, mining pits have rainwater but it needs to be pumped out and released in rivulets. Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai has called the meeting at secretariat which will be attended by ministers, the chief secretary, senior officials and MLAs, said a senior agriculture department official.

They will discuss the issue of allowing pumping of water from mining pits and making it available to farmers for irrigation purpose, he said.

"Rainwater has got accumulated in mining pits, many of which are below the water table of rivulets in the mining belt in Sattari taluka in North Goa," said the official. He said there is an urgent need to pump out water so that rivulets have a normal flow, allowing irrigation of farms in the mining belt.

Haravalem Waterfall, a tourist attraction which is a part of rivulets criss-crossing the mining belt, has been running dry since the last two years.

In February, the Supreme Court had quashed 88 mining leases, bringing to a halt iron ore excavation and transportation in the belt.

The suspension of mining activity also led to a stoppage of pumping of water from pits into rivulets. The meeting is likely to be attended by Assembly Speaker Pramod Sawant, the MLA from Sankhalim, which falls in the mining belt, Ministers Vinod Palyekar (water resources), Vishwajit Rane (health), Nilesh Cabral (power), Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma, other officials and MLAs from the mining belt, he said.

(With inputs from agencies.)