New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday quashed 88 iron ore mining leases in Goa for violating the environmental norms. Cancelling all the leases, the top court added that no operations will continue after March 15, 2018.
Fresh licences will be issued after March 15.
Nearly 88 iron ore mining leases granted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in 2015, right before the new environmental laws came into force.
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who had alleged that several lease-holders were involved in illegal mining of iron ore, tweeted:
Kudos to Supreme Court for cancelling all 88 iron ore mining leases granted 2nd renewal by Goa's BJP govt, in a hasty & malafide manner just days before new mining Act came in Jan 15 making auction mandatory.This renewal was worse than Coalgate & a bigger scam. Honest BJP indeed!
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) February 7, 2018
Goa is one of the country`s top producers of the iron, the steel-making raw material. Activists have been campaigning for a ban on environmental grounds.
Court action against illegal mining shut the industry in Goa for more than two years from 2012.
Goa had exported about 50 million tonnes of iron ore a year before the ban was imposed.
The latest ban is a blow for companies such as Vedanta Resources that have mines in the state.
Most of Goa`s iron ore is exported to China as Indian steel companies do not have the technology to use them.
With agency inputs