Vexed Goa mining industry pins hope on SC hearing on Dec 7

The petitions have said that under commission of the inquiry, the ex-parte needs to be heard.

Panaji: Mining companies and stakeholders in Goa have pinned their hopes on the impalement petitions filed by them in the Supreme Court in connection with the current halt in the export and transportation of iron ore from the state, which will come up for hearing on December 7.

The apex court has stopped the transportation and exports of iron ore from Goa pending inquiry report by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC), which has been asked to probe into illegal iron ore mining in the state, as pointed out in the Justice M B Shah inquiry commission.

India`s mining major Sesa Goa, Goa Mining Association, Goa Mining Labour Welfare Union, South Goa Truck Owners Association, All Goa Barge Owners Association and a mine owner Harish Melawani have filed individual impleadment petitions in the court.

These parties, directly affected by the current ban, have contended that they were not heard by Justice M B Shah Commission before finalising its report.

The petitions have said that under commission of the inquiry, the ex-parte needs to be heard.

The petitioners have said that they should be given an opportunity to present their facts before the court, prior to a final verdict.

Goa Foundation, an NGO, had moved the court seeking a ban on mining after Shah Commission termed that almost all the 90- odd leases operating in the state were illegal.

The petitioners have pleaded that "the court may pass an appropriate order" in this case.

The iron ore export business in Goa has come to a standstill affecting several people, dependent on it for livelihood.

The state government, in its submission to the CEC (Central Empowered Committee), has said the state might face unrest due to the current crisis.

The fiscal health of the state is also a cause of worry for the government, who, in its letter to the CEC has predicted a shortfall of Rs 4,400 crore to the state`s economy for the current fiscal year.

State Chief Secretary B Vijayan in his letter to CEC had said that "as against the estimated contribution of Rs 6,800 crore, the contribution would be only Rs 2,400 crore".

The estimated revenue from the mining sector in the form of royalty for the current fiscal was projected to Rs 902 crore, while the realisation towards the end of September has been Rs 321 crore.