Free Press Journal

Plea in SC seeks Goa mining curbs to continue

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New Delhi: An NGO moved the Supreme Court Wednesday seeking direction to the central government not to permit resumption of iron and manganese ore mining in Goa till the recommendations of a panel that probed alleged illegal mining were implemented.

NGO Goa Foundation has sought direction for the appointment of an independent authority vested with full powers to take control, supervise and regulate mining operations in Goa.

The petitioner sought the implementation of the recommendations of the Justice M.B. Shah commission on mining.

Justice Shah – a retired judge of the apex court – was appointed by the central government Nov 22, 2010 to inquire into alleged illegal mining of iron and manganese ore in contravention of the various provisions, rules, licences and guidelines.

Justice Shah’s report, tabled in Lok Sabha Sep 7, said all modes of illegal mining were present in Goa, causing degradation of environment.

Two days after Justice Shah’s report was tabled in Lok Sabha, the environment and forests ministry issued show cause notices to 42 mining companies under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

In the wake of the report of the Justice Shah commission, the Goa mines and geology directorate Sep 10 temporarily suspended all mining operations till October.

However, the temporary suspension did not affect the trade and transportation of ore already mined and existing in the lease-hold area, in transit or in stores.

Union Environment and Forests Minister Jayanti Natarajan by her Sep 14 order put in abeyance all the 139 environmental clearances given by the ministry in Goa.

The petition moved by Goa Foundation has sought direction, restraining trade and transportation of ore already mined.