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Navelim village in Goa’s mining belt shut down Monday in protest against what they called “heavy pollution” emitted from an iron processing plant operated by the Sesa Goa Limited (SGL).

Navelim is 40 km from here.

Schools, markets as well as other establishments remained closed in the area, after the village panchayat (council) Sunday formally resolved to shut down the village in protest for 12 hours through the day.

“The pollution is such that our houses, clothes and food get covered by black dust caused due to the pollution from this processing plant,” Gopinath Gawas, the sarpanch (village head) of Navelim village, told reporters here.

“The bandh has been supported by the panchayat gram sabha and will be from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” he further said.

“Even our water bodies are being polluted by the effluent and the black soot,” Gawas added.

SGL, along with the Timblo family-owned mining empire, are the two major mining companies in Goa.

The SGL pig iron plant processes several hundred thousand tonnes of iron ore annually.

SGL, a Vedanta Resources-owned company, has not issued a formal statement on the issue yet.

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