“The reopening of the shut mine is troubling proof that things might not fundamentally change with the new BJP government as far as the mining scenario is concerned,” says Claude Alvares, director, Goa Foundation.
The Jairam Neogi mine owner was allowed to commence mining on the basis of a fraudulent order issued by Digambar Kamat in February 2007. The issuing of the renewal order was indicted by the Public Accounts Committee in its report which included major sections on illegal mining.
The mining lease was also probed by the Justice Shah Commission of Enquiry into Illegal Mining.
Dinar Tarcar who owns Mindscape Earthmovers stood for elections from Santa Cruz as an MGP candidate, but supported by the BJP.
By operating several mines that do not belong to him, Tarcar increased his personal wealth from Rs.5 crores five years ago to Rs.211 crores in 2012, if one goes by the information disclosed in affidavits filed by him during both Assembly elections.
The Indian Bureau of Mines has found that the mine had doubled the production allowed in the approved mining plan. The doubled ore production brought it in breach of the limits laid down by the Environment Clearance order issued under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
The IBM also issued notice to the mine in 2010 for expanding the size of the mining pit beyond approved limits. The mining lease also does not have approval under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.
It appears the Department of Mines & Geology has now come to a sudden change of heart to conclude that the mine working was no longer illegal. “If Tarcar’s mining operations are going to be declared legal, this would mean that all other instances of illegal mining will also be condoned in future, reducing the laws regulating mining and environment to a complete farce,” Alvares expressed.