In a shocking incident, an illegal laterite stone mine was found on the site of an upcoming national and an international games events in Goa, prompting government to launch an inquiry into it, officials said. The state has hogged headlines for rampant illegal iron-ore mining.
The incident reflects obsession with illegal mining in Goa which has scaled a new high now with the land acquired for building infrastructure for the National games (2014) and Portuguese Commonwealth Games (2013) being used for extracting laterite stones. Goa remained in news for illegal iron-ore mining.
The illegal laterite mine was Monday raided by a team of officials from the Goa government's department of mines and geology, which seized heavy equipments and power tillers that were used to drill into the hard laterite stone. Laterite stone is used as base material to build traditional houses in Goa.
Sports Minister Ramesh Tawadkar, whose ministry is scheduled to conduct the National Games 2014 and the Lusophony Games 2013, in which former colonies of Portugal will be participating, said he had ordered an enquiry into the illicit mining.
"I have asked my department to visit the site and contact the other department (mines and geology) for more information," Tawadkar told IANS.
The mining is being carried out in Pernem taluka, in north Goa 30 km from Panaji. The land was acquired by the Goa government for creating infrastructure for the National Games and a Games city which would host the games. In all, nearly 10 lakh sq. metres of land was acquired by the government in 2009.
While most of the illegal mining in Goa comprises of iron ore theft, many laterite as well as basalt mines, several of them illegal, also dot the state's landscape.