Goa miners should get environmental clearance afresh: CEC to SC
New Delhi: A Supreme Court-appointed panel on Wednesday referred to its report on illegal iron ore extractions in Goa in the apex court to buttress its point that miners should get fresh environment clearance certificates.
"The mining companies should get Environment Clearance certificates afresh," the counsel for Central Empowered Committee (CEC) submitted to a bench headed by Justice A K Patnaik, referring to the report.
The CEC also referred to various orders passed by the apex court during previous proceedings on petitions including the PIL filed by the Goa Foundation, an environmental action group on the illegal mining in Goa.
At the fag end of the day-long hearing, the court was informed of several pleas against its earlier orders, the reports of Justice M B Shah Commission and that of CEC on mining and some transfer petitions, which were originally filed in the Bombay High Court, pending before it.
"We will hear and decide all the matters together to avoid any confusion," the bench, also comprising justices S S Nijjar and F M Ibrahim Kalifulla said while fixing the matter for further hearing tomorrow.
Earlier during the day, the NGO`s counsel Prashant Bhushan concluded his final arguments seeking various reliefs including that mining leases, which have expired in 2007, not be renewed and they be auctioned after putting in place the stringent regulatory mechanism to curb illegal mining.
The forest bench, on October 5 last year, had halted the mining operations in all the 90 mines in Goa considering the Justice Shah Commission report that had indicted almost all the miners saying the illegal extraction of iron ore during last 12 years had caused a loss of Rs 35,000 crore to the state exchequer.
The court yesterday started hearing the PIL after Sesa Goa, a Vedanta group firm and country`s largest producer and exporter of iron ore in the private sector, recently sought early decision on the issue.
Earlier, the court questioned the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for granting EC certificates to Goa mining firms allegedly without proper documentation and verifications.
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