Nearly 60 per cent of the 128 mines in Goa are below ground water table level, a senior Union Ministry of Environment and Forest official said today.
The ministry had earlier suspended environment clearance of the mines for two years asking the operators to get back with the Hydro Geological Survey when it was found that they were mining below water table, Director, Ministry of Environment and forests, Southern Zone, Dr S K Susarla said.
These mines have been cleared by the ministry, the official said during the Goa level interaction between Environmentalists and Mining firms on the Impact of Mining on Environment, an initiative by MoEF.
The interaction also saw environmentalists blaming state agencies for turning a blind eye towards the illegalities in mining sector, the largest economic activity of the state.
Goa exports 33 million metric tones of Iron ore through its 100-odd mining leases.
The environmentalists highlighted appalling situation on the "illegal" mining front.
"The mining department and mine owners should tell us what exactly according to them is illegal mining because the department is pushing all the faults under carpet stating that the leases were operational under deemed provisions," Fr Mavrerick Fernandes, the executive secretary of Diocesan Service centre for social action, said.
The state mining department representative said the department's role is contained till granting the permission while other laws govern the illegalities, which are pointed out by non government organisations.