Panaji: In a slew of measures to curb illegal mining, the Goa government has ordered a cap on issuing permits to trucks ferrying iron ore, after suspending nearly 500 iron ore trade licences here.
According to director, mines and geology, Prasanna Acharya, the move to stop more permits to mining trucks was necessary to decongest Goa`s mining belt, which are choc-a-bloc with mining traffic and causing several road accident fatalities.
"We are looking to streamline the mining transport, which is rather unregulated at the moment. We are invoking sections of the mining regulation act to put restrictions and regulate mining traffic," Acharya said.
There are more than 20,000 dumper trucks operational in Goa`s mining belt, which is pockmarked with 100 plus iron ore mines, from which 56 million tonnes of iron ore is extracted annually.
On Tuesday, in a late development, the Goa government had cancelled licenses of nearly 450 iron ore traders registered here, in a bid to check extraction and export of iron ore.
"All of them have also been issued showcause notices, which asked them why action should not be taken," Acharya said.
Sources said the step to cancel mining licences was essential to temporarily plug the illegal extraction of ore and export, which a majority of the ore dealers indulge in.
"There were large scale irregularities in the issuance of licences to these operators by the mines department. There were scores of cases where the addresses of the ore traders were fake," an official said, adding the increase of illegal mining in Goa was directly proportional to the rise in the number of ore traders registered here.
On Monday, the Goa government had suspended mines director Arvind Lolienkar, whom Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had accused of illegalities and pandering to the illegal mining lobby.
The Justice M.B. Shah Commission on the illegal mining mafia in Goa had also said the large number of iron ore traders were responsible for illegal mining in the state.