More than 96% of Goa falls under ‘inviolate forest areas’: activist


 More than 96% of the state’s geographical area will fall under the category of ‘inviolate forest areas’ for the purpose of protection, anti-mining activist Ramesh Gauns has said. 
The Committee to Formulate Objective Parameters for Identification of Inviolate Forest Areas, which was formed to after a Group of Ministers (GoM) on environmental and developmental issues relating to coal mining and other development projects, suggested that identified pristine forest areas where any mining activity would lead to irreversible damage to the forests should be barred from any kind of non-forest activity and those which can never be regenerated to the desired quality should be protected, had in its report submitted in July last year but made public only now has drawn up a list of areas and guidelines to term forests as inviolate for mining. 
“According to what the panel has recommended was that areas located in direct draining of catchments areas for perennial streams, being utilised as water source, etc… should be classified as inviolate. If one goes by that yardstick, 96% of Goa’s geographical area will be termed as inviolate and out of bounds for mining because 96% of the states area is catchments area,” Gauns who being a teachers has done extensive studies of the ecological impact of mining. 
Goa falls on the windward side of the Western Ghats and receives abundant rainfall giving rise to many streams and springs some of which dry up in the summers but others especially those fed by springs are perennial. 
“There are so many perennial springs and water reservoirs that have been destroyed by the mining. All these areas should be treated as inviolate,” Gauns said. [H]