Goa: Iron Ore Transport Limit Sparks Controversy In Bombay HC

Goa: Iron Ore Transport Limit Sparks Controversy In Bombay HC

The issue stems from the DMG's refusal to issue permits for using non-village roads, including highways and Major District Roads (MDR), for transporting ore from Bicholim Mining Block-Block 1.

THE GOAN NETWORKUpdated: Thursday, June 20, 2024, 03:29 PM IST
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A Public Interest Litigation seeking to limit iron ore transportation across Goa is currently pending before the Bombay High Court. During the hearing on June 19, 2024, petitioner advocate Norma Alvares proposed restricting iron ore truck trips to 20-40 per hour, following the Standard Operating Procedure of the Directorate of Mines & Geology (DMG).

About The Issue

The issue stems from the DMG's refusal to issue permits for using non-village roads, including highways and Major District Roads (MDR), for transporting ore from Bicholim Mining Block-Block 1. This has disrupted operations and severely impacted truck owners who had invested heavily in maintenance, anticipating long-term operations.

The Truck Owners' Association asserts that the proposed route to Sarmanas Jetty uses a 5.84 km stretch, with only 0.9 km designated as MDR-20, avoiding village roads. The Association argues that restricting trips to 20-40 per hour would render the transportation business economically unviable, causing significant unemployment among truck drivers and related workers.

The Truck Owner Association highlighted the severe financial impact on truck owners, who have invested in 200 trucks, and the broader economic consequences, including a potential revenue loss of Rs 50-60 crore per month for the government.

The Environmental Clearance (EC) for Bicholim Mining Block-Block 1 allows for 3 million tons of ore to be transported annually, necessitating 1,200 daily truck trips. The proposed restrictions would reduce this to 2000-4000 tons per day, falling short of requirements and significantly impacting government revenue and investment in the mining sector.

The Truckers' Association calls for a balanced approach that considers environmental concerns while safeguarding the livelihoods of thousands dependent on mining. They hope for a positive resolution to prevent further economic decline in Goa's mining sector.

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