Illegal mining: Over 400 Goa traders under scanner

Over 400 iron ore traders in Goa have come under the scanner over large scale illegal mining in the state.

Panaji: Over 400 iron ore traders in Goa
have come under the scanner after a preliminary inquiry by the
Central government-appointed Shah Commission pointed towards
large scale illegal mining in the state.

State Mines and Geology department has summoned all these
traders registered with them to verify the source from where
they have been procuring the ore.
Director of Mines and Geology Arvind Lolienkar has been
personally holding an inquiry of each trader, who have been
asked to remain present with the details of their turnover.

Sources said that 405 traders registered with the Mines
department have been issued notices under Goa Mineral illegal
storage, transportation and trading Act, 2004.

After Justice M B Shah, who is heading the inquiry
Commission began probe into the illegal iron ore trade in the
state, closure of eight mines have been ordered.

Government sources said the Mines department was at the
receiving end during the inquiry as they were not armed with
the proper data about exports.

A senior Mines department official said that small
traders who largely contribute for the exports, are the main
link which can expose the illegal trade.

"We are asking them from where the ore was sourced and
whether royalty was paid on it. If we find that the ore was
sourced without paying royalty or was extracted illegally,
then action would be taken against the offenders," a senior
official said.
Director of Mines refused to comment on the issue,
stating that the inquiry of traders is on and the matter would
be discussed once the process is completed.

Department sources, however, said the main concern is
about those traders who are not registered with the

Both the ports - Mormugao and Panaji- do not make it
mandatory for the traders to register with the department. How
can we have control illegalities by traders whom we cannot
even recognise a senior official asked.

Goa is the largest exporter of iron ore in the country
and has exported 54 million metric tones of ore during last
financial year.

The Commission which has been investigating into the
illegal iron ore trade has asked the mines department to order
closure of 8 out of 90 mines, which were found to be violating
the laws.

Eight teams of the commission are already inspecting
each mine individually.

Sources stated that almost 75 per cent of the
inspection has been completed.

Justice Shah was recently in Goa and had held a public
hearing over the issue following which the demand to
regularise illegal mining was raised, which was outrightly
rejected by him.


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