‘Don’t allow Goa mining till environment studies’
New Delhi: Mining companies in Goa have violated rules and regulation in their operations and extraction of ores by them should not be permitted till environment impact assessment is done, a Central Empowered Committee told the Supreme Court on Friday.
The apex court-appointed Committee in its report recommended that resumption of mining operations, halted by the apex court on October 5, may be not be permitted till the state government notifies rule to regulate storage, transportation and shipment of mineral ore.
"The environmental clearances granted by the Ministry of Environment & Forests, (MoEF) for the 19 mining leases located within the wildlife sanctuaries and for another 23 mining leases located within a distance of upto 1 km from the boundaries of nearby national parks / sanctuaries being in violation of this court’s orders dated. The mining operations in such mining leases may be prohibited," the report said.
The 124-page report was placed before a three judge bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam which would consider its findings and recommendation in the next date of hearing.
Taking note of the Justice M B Shah Commission report which estimated a whopping Rs 35,000 crore loss to the exchequer due to illegal mining in the last 12 years, the bench had halted mining operations in all the 90 mines in Goa.
It had also asked the CEC to submit its report on the illegal mining in the state within four weeks.
The committee in its report said that on the line of Karnataka, Goa also prepare a reclamation and rehabilitation (R&R) plan and the apex court should examine the environmental clearances given to the mining leases.
"Goa may be directed to immediately notify comprehensive Rules to regulate the storage, transportation and shipment of mineral," the report said adding "Till such comprehensive Rules are put in place, the resumption of mining operations may be not be permitted."
Parrikar on mining
Meanwhile, Chief Minister of Goa Manohar Parrikar today ruled out resumption of mining in his state before framing of proper rules and regulations to curb illegal mining.
Parrikar said during interaction with members of MCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Kolkata that the mines would be permitted to re-start their operation only after verification and clearance from a scrutiny committee.
"Goa is one of the major producers of iron ore, the bulk of which is exported to China," he said.
However, the chief minister said that the decision to halt mining operations in Goa had a strong impact on the state`s economy resulting in a huge shortfall of revenue during the current financial year.
Replying to a question, Parrikar said that his government was in the process of formulating a land policy though the "existing policy is transparent".
"There is no scope for conversion of agricultural land into industry. Barren lands are adequate in Goa where industries could come up but that should be done without disturbing the environment," he said.
Tourism potential in the state would also be augmented and a target of incoming tourists has been doubled from three lakh to six lakh in the next couple of years.
The chief minister described the law and order situation in the state as "much better" than many states in the country.
Welcoming investors to Goa, Parrikar told the MCC members that best facilities would be provided to them.
Promising an industry-friendly environment in his state, Parikkar said besides traditional industries like tourism, fisheries, spices and cashew cultivation, other sectors like educational hub, IT and entertainment would also be developed.
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