Goa govt seeks to apply brakes on overloaded mining trucks

The Goa government is working on a legislation to cancel leases of mines whose trucks are found to be overloaded with ore.

Updated: Feb 24, 2011, 12:47 PM IST

Panaji: The Goa Government is working on a
legislation to cancel leases of mines whose trucks are found
to be overloaded with ore.

Stringent measures, including cancellation of leases, are
being considered in legislation to curb the increasing
menace of overloaded mining trucks which create dust pollution
in villages, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat said.

The state has been witnessing protests on a regular basis
by the locals who complain about frequent accidents involving
mining trucks and dust pollution caused by overloaded vehicles
transporting ore from mines.

Goa has 100-odd operational mines which export around
40 million MT iron ore annually. As per rough estimates,
20,000 trucks operate in mines across the state.

"There should be proper control by Transport and Mines
Department on these trucks. There are enough powers with these
departments to book erring truck operators," Leader of the
Opposition Manohar Parrikar said.

Goa Assembly`s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), chaired
by Parrikar, has recommended that the permits of the trucks
found overloading should be cancelled immediately.

PAC has also said that the Mines Department should be the
regulating authority for mining trucks, whose drivers should
be registered with the Department.

"There are several truck drivers who operate without
valid licence. If the Mines Department initiates a process to
regulate them, everyone will have to have a driving licence,"
Parrikar said.

The Leader of the Opposition also alleged that several
drivers with criminal antecedents from neighbouring states
were operating mining trucks in Goa.

The trucks carry ore from the mining sites to a jetty,
where it is offloaded into a ship which carries it to a
transship for export.

Transport Department Director Arun Desai said they have
already started penalising erring drivers.

"In the last one month alone, we have penalised around
500 truck drivers," he said, but conceded that the drive has
failed to imbibe discipline amongst them.

"We need more stringent measures and that`s why the Chief
Minister is thinking to cancel permits of the mines or at
least of the trucks, if they are found violating the rules,"
Desai added.

Traffic jams caused due to mining trucks has been a
regular affair in the state`s remote talukas.

Kamat, during the last budget session, had assured to
construct separate corridors that would let the trucks bypass
thickly populated areas.

Desai said the work on mining corridors is in process.