PANJIM: The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has directed the Goa government to submit its proposal to declare Mhadei wildlife sanctuary as a ‘tiger reserve’. The demand has come at a time when wildlife enthusiasts~ particularly those working for tiger conservation~are up beat about the sighting of a tiger in the sanctuary, which appears to be a local predator.

Forest Department officials had clicked photographs of the tiger moving in the sanctuary, a fortnight ago. This is for the first time that direct and conclusive evidence has been found by the forest department officials about its presence.

PANJIM: Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has declined to renew the Consent to Operate of the mining lease owned by H L Nathurmal, located at Arvalem in Bicholim taluka, in the wake of Supreme Court decision to halt mining operations in Goa.

“The lease holder is given liberty to apply for renewal of consent to operate once the Supreme Court and State government revoke their decision of stopping mining operations in the state,” the order issued on May 2, reads.

PANJIM: The verdict is out! At long last, Goa can authoritatively pride itself as being home to its very own big cat – the majestic tiger. The ‘stripe matching’ of the Goan tiger was authenticated by a top tiger expert, authorities said.

Tiger stripes are unique, with each one like a fingerprint and identifies the stately animal. Dr K Ullas Karanth, a conservation zoologist and leading tiger expert based in Karnataka, who is working closely with the state on tigers, has confirmed to the Forest Department that the tiger that was photographed recently was unique to Goa and not part of any of the 600 tigers who live in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

PANJIM: At least 99 villages including around 90 in the heart of the State’s mining belts of Sattari and Sanguem have been declared ecologically sensitive areas under the Environment Protection Act, 1976, by the Kasturirangan report, amidst accusations that it had sought to dilute the Gadgil panel report.

The high-powered committee was formed by the Centre to study and recommend ways to implement the Madhav Ghadgil report on UNESCO featured biodiversity hotspot, the Western Ghats.

Govt takes possession of almost 99 per cent of land; group of farmers refuse award

PERNEM: In what could be the final lift off for the Mopa Greenfield airport, the government Monday took possession of almost 99 per cent of the land required for the airport proper, with now only the land for approach road remaining to be acquired. The Reference for Quotation tender ~ the next step ~ is expected to be put up, inviting global partners within a fortnight but could be even as close as 11th of April.

PANJIM: United Breweries and United Spirits – flagship companies of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, are under the scanner with the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) issuing show cause notices to them for allegedly discharging effluent into the Curti Ponda nullah.

The board also found that samples from the from the effluent and sewage treatment plants are not “meeting prescribed limits,” Minister for Environment and Forests Alina Saldanha told the legislative assembly on Wednesday.

PONDA: Residents of Keri-Ponda are on a chain hunger strike to oppose the deputy collector’s order granting permission to lift mined stones from a quarry at Amadi-Keri.

Opposing the order, several villagers including women on Tuesday decided to block transportation of the mined stones. It may be recalled that the villagers have been opposing the stone quarry and crusher operations, on grounds that the project is illegal. The villagers claimed that the stone crusher was illegally operated in private property without the consent of the property owner and the stone quarry has caused irreparable damage to the environment.

PANJIM: The Environment Minister, Alina Saldanha, Thursday said that the government will put its infrastructure in place before moving ahead with its plan of banning use of plastic bags in Goa.

“There is already legislation, which prescribes fines and imprisonment for offenders and we will implement this in a phased manner after the infrastructure for segregation and re-cycling is put in place.”

BICHOLIM: In an unusual incident, the Bicholim Municipal Council (BMC) on Thursday decided to postpone a felicitation function after bowing to protests from mining workers in the area.

BMC had decided to felicitate four persons, including environmentalist Ramesh Gawas, but the decision to felicitate Gawas angered the mining workers from Bicholim. A group of angry mining workers went to the BMC office and submitted a memorandum, strongly opposing BMC’s move to felicitate Gawas after alleging that “he was against the commencement of mining activities in the State.”

PANJIM: The quarterly meeting of TB forum of the Voluntary Health Association of Goa on Monday identified five villages where steps would be taken to create awareness about tuberculosis and help villagers to move towards elimination of the disease.

The villages are Parra, Karapur-Sarvan, Pariyem-Sanquelim, Betki and Carambolim. Executive Director VHAG Dr Cynthia Pinto said these villages have been identified under Axshya project, which was implemented in Goa in 2011 to improve the reach, visibility and effectiveness of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) through civil society.