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Mining suspensions to be revoked



Updated On - Monday, 26 August 2013

21 August 2013

The Goa government has initiated the process of withdrawal of suspension of 24-30 mining leases out of the nearly 100 mining leases it suspended on September 9 last year.

The suspension was done in the aftermath of the Justice (retd.) M. B. Shah Commission Report which had exposed massive illegalities and irregularities in the renewal of mining leases in the State and recommended action on the issue.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who also holds the Mining portfolio, acted after environmental activists and anti-mining groups clamoured over the report when it was tabled in the Parliament and demanded action from the government against illegal mining.

Confirming the government’s decision to consider the withdrawal of some of the mining leases, Mr. Parrikar told presspersons here on Tuesday that the process is aimed at paving the way for immediate start of mining once the Supreme Court provides a verdict on the issue. The revocation will be subject to environment clearances of Ministry of Environment and Forest.

He said the number of leases whose suspension could be revoked after case-to-case verification in next few days could reach to 50.

The Chief Minister said the Directorate of Mines and Geology (DoM&G) had verified and cleared the leases on a case-to-case basis. It was during this process that he recommended 118 mining leases – with no renewal applications received – for cancellation.

Of the 42 leases renewed by the previous governments over the years by wrongfully condoning the delay, all the cases were heard and orders will be issued by the DoM&G. Mr. Parrikar said that of these, 10-12 were functional prior to the ban and would be cleared as per law.

No mining has taken place in Goa since the Supreme Court’s interim order dated October 5 last year over the public interest litigation filed by environmental group Goa Foundation seeking directive to the Centre and State governments to implement the Shah Commission findings.

The next hearing is scheduled next week.
Incidentally, ECs for the mining leases also stand suspended by the MoEF since September last year in the aftermath of Shah Commission report.

State government sources said the move is aimed at facilitating the government to mention the lifting of its suspension order in its affidavit before the apex court pleading that legal mining be allowed to resume.

The DoM&G had also been told to reiterate its stand before the apex court that it will strictly regulate the mining industry and root out all illegalities, sources said.

The Chief Minister said the scrutiny of documents based on stamp duty collected from more than 20 mining lease-holders was under way. An official later said the government would provide details of the initiatives taken by the DoM&G post the Shah Commission report to monitor and regulate the ore extracted.

The mining dependents under the banner of Goa Mining People’s Front have been accusing the Centre and State governments of failing to do enough to convince the apex court to lift the ban.

Published by: The Hindu

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