Facing volley of accusations for shielding illegal mining from the Opposition, Goa government has finally decided to appoint technical staff on each of the mining sites for collecting factual data on exportation of ore. Goa exports around 38 metric tonnes of iron ore extracted from 100-odd mines across the state.
The state government, in the action taken report on the recommendations of the estimates committee, said that they have already decided to appoint people to check and monitor the quantity of the ore being extracted from the mines. However, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat said that the process to fill up these posts is going on.
Digambar Kamat informed that the general practice in most of the states is that checking of production and movement of minerals is done by technical officers who have the knowledge of identifying the minerals. He also stated that the Department of Mines periodically carries out inspections to ascertain the efficacy of measures adopted by the mining lease holders to minimize the damages due to mining activities.
During this ongoing winter session, Opposition along with ruling party Corporator Dayanand Narvekar today cornered chief minister Digambar Kamat on illegal mining activity and mines department’s failure to keep a proper data of the ore extracted and exported. Opposition benches said that Goa has lost Rs 200 crore mining royalty during last ten years due to illegal mining. Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Damu Naik said that 53 lakh metric tonnes ore which is worth Rs 2000 crore has been exported illegally from the state without paying royalty to the state government and if royalty is calculated at 10 per cent, it amounts to Rs 200 crore.
The chief minister said that the state government has appointed two teams to assess the royalty evasion for last ten years. “Till date, 287 cases have been assessed and amount of Rs 09.48 crores have been recovered from them,” he said.
Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar said that mining is executed just next to Selaulim water reservoir and also in the forest areas. He also alleged that mines department and forest department were conniving with the mine owners.