The Salaulim Dam (also spelled Selaulim, Saluli) located on the Salaulim River, a tributary of the Zuari River in Goa, India, is an integral component of the Salaulim Irrigation Project which envisages benefits of irrigation and drinking water supply. Selaulim reservoir is the the source of potable water for about 55 per cent of the Goas population.
Selaulim dam’s water reservoir has been getting polluted by illegal mining and their rejection dumps. While revenue losses from illegal mining has been estimated at about Rs 3,000 crore, the loss by way of damage to the environment and loss of livelihood has not been estimated (1).
Goa legislative assemblys ad hoc committee on forests, had in the past suggested that water quality in the Selaulim dam be monitored as mining rejects from nearby dumps flow into it.
'The government should have an appropriate mechanism to undertake regular inspections and monitor the activities of the mining companies to prevent the flow of mining rejects in river bodies, especially in the vicinity of Selaulim dam at Sanguem,' the panel headed by BJP legislator Laxmikant Parsekar had stated.
In yet another reply on Tuesday, Kamat admitted that no study has been conducted to verify the impact of mining on the quality of water and also its impact on aquifer (2).
Villagers of Pirna and Nanoda villages jointly opposed mining of iron ore at Pirna alleging that it would destroy ecology.
Despite strong opposition from the villagers of Pirna and Nanoda to the Sem Denominacao Especial, owned by Sesa Goa, the mine still obtained an environmental clearance certifiacte on June 9, 2009.
Environmentalist Ramesh Gawas said, 'Mining has ripped apart the ecological, cultural and social fabric of our communities. There deadly government-industry nexus has allowed mining operations in violation of the law of the the land.' (3).
In September 2012, Goa government has finally resolved to shut down the mines pouring manganese and iron ore in the Selaulim reservoir (4).