Centre asks Goa to restrict removal of minerals from dumps

Centre has asked Goa govt to "immediately restrict" all activities regarding removal of minerals from dumps located outside the mining lease areas.

New Delhi: The Centre has asked the Goa government to "immediately restrict" all activities regarding removal of minerals from dumps located outside the mining lease areas.

"State government of Goa should immediately restrict all activities for removal of mineral from the dumps located outside the lease areas, till an appropriate mechanism is evolved and the Central government approval is obtained in mining plan on such dump removal activity," Mines Ministry has said in a letter to Goa government.

The directive comes close on heels of Justice MB Shah Commission, which probed into the issue of illegal mining of iron ore and manganese in Goa, recommending that dumping of minerals or any subsequent work should be done only with proper permission and approval of the Indian Bureau of Mines and clearance from the concerned state government department.

"It is requested that suitable orders may be issued to all concerned officers to ensure strict compliance... The state government of Goa may consider and initiate suitable action...And furnish an action taken report in the matter," the letter said, mentioning that the Centre has accepted Justice Shah Commission`s recommendation.

There are 37 mining reject dumps on revenue land, majority of which belong to big mining firms including Dempo, Sesa Goa and Fomento, as per the Goa government.

Earlier, the one-man enquiry commission went into the issue of illegal mining in the state and also recommended that state government should upload information about mining leases on their websites to introduce transparency in the sector.

The Commission in its report also suggested that mining leases be granted through public auction to reduce corruption.

After holding several hearings and inspections in the state, the Commission has observed that natural resources, mostly iron ore, have made a few persons -- who hold leasehold mining interests for decades -- billionaires.

The Union Mines Ministry, has said the issue of public auction of leases has been included in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2011 which has been referred to a Parliamentary panel.