A Goa BJP legislator Wednesday came out against chief minister Manohar Parrikar's proposal to the central government recommending a buffer zone of up to one km for wildlife sanctuaries.
Nilesh Cabral, a BJP MLA from Curchorem, located in Goa's mining belt 50 km south of Panjim, told reporters that he was in favour of a zero-metre buffer zone, especially in areas where the protected forest areas ran contiguous with mining operations.
"As an MLA, I want zero-buffer zone," Cabral said, a few days after the Manohar Parrikar-led cabinet recommended to the central government a buffer zone up to one km near wildlife sanctuaries.
Cabral's comments are significant because he is one of the three MLAs -- out of the total 21 BJP legislators in the state legislature -- who have a direct stake in the mining industry. Cabral, who is into mining, and Ganesh Gaonkar (Sanvordem MLA) and Subhash Phaldessai (Sanguem MLA), who operate ore transportation businesses, have been vocal about protecting the interests of the mining industry -- sometimes even in defiance of government diktats.
"If there are no mines, people will have to live in jungles. We are trying our best to improve the mining scenario in Goa," Cabral said.
Mining in Goa has been banned after a judicial commission exposed a Rs. 35,000 crore scam in which politicians, bureaucrats and mining company owners have been linked.