The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has announced a one km buffer zone around all wildlife sanctuaries in Goa and called for a ban on mining in this area.
Since the Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) proposed for two protected areas Bhagwan Mahaveer and Netravali Wildlife Sanctuaries is already very fragmented and disturbed due to mining,the MoEF has said that the state government may be allowed to permit phasing out of mining activities over a period of time in these areas.
The MoEF order follows an in principle approval of the report of the MoEF committee that was constituted in August to survey natural boundaries of six Protected Areas in Goa in relation to the establishment of ESZs. The state government submitted proposals regarding declaration of ESZ around the Protected Areas of Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary,Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary,Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park,Madei Wildlife Sanctuary,Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary and Dr Salim Ali Wildlife Sanctuary.
The ministry has asked the state to ensure that a proper and rigorous mining closure plan is implemented and rehabilitation and ecological restoration completed in the quickest possible time as per norms by the Indian Bureau of Mines. The ministry has also rejected the Goa governments recommendation to take natural boundaries as the buffer zone.
The report has recommended that a peripheral strip of land,with an average radial distance of not less than one km from the boundaries of the four protected areas under reference (Madei,Bhagwan Mahaveer,Netravali,Bondla),is required as a robust ESZ to protect the flora and fauna of such protected areas from biotic/external pressure.