Current Affairs

HC issues notices to Goa Govt on illegal mining

The Bombay High Court at Goa Wednesday issued notices to the Director of Mines, Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) and Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) over illegal mining in the State based on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Goa Foundation.

The petitioner has sought Court’s intervention to ensure that no illegal mining will take place when mining resumes in November in the state.

One of the specific reliefs sought is the erection of name boards at the entrances of all mines engaged in mining operations which will disclose all relevant details of the mine and various permissions given to it to operate. The matter would now be heard on September 27 for further order.

“From the ground realities it is apparent that the authorities have not taken steps to monitor the quantities of ore extracted by mines in Goa so as to prevent illegal extraction in excess of statutorily permitted limits. Nor are measures in place to detect illegal extraction and transportation of ore within the State as well as from other States into Goa, for export,” the foundation has said in its petition.

The petitioner further pointed out that the authorities are well aware that illegal mining is rampant in Goa and increasingly leading to disturbance of law and order. “ However, they have not dealt with the problem with a firm hand, leading to intense public discontent with this state of affairs, which is seen in the increasing number of protests and street agitations in mining areas,” Goa Foundation observes.

The foundation has found that a large number of mines have greatly exceeded their production limits during the period 2006- 2010. In the financial year 2006- 07, the excess ore produced was 2.1 million tones, which went up to Rs 2.7 million tonnes in 2007- 08, 4.2 million tonnes in 2008- 09 and in 2009- 2010 the excess ore was 4.3 million tonnes. Thus, in the space of four years, the illegal ore produced by 48 mines was a staggering 13.47 million tonnes, the petition states.

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