Exposing a major mining scam, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has directed the State Department of Mines and Geology to close 15 mines that were operating without the mandatory clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), by 25th May.
Manohar Parrikar, Chairman of PAC disclosed that the mines were operating illegally for many years and pointed out that it was for the first time that the government has admitted on record that 15 of the 60 mines operating in Goa were illegal.
Incidentally, one of the mines operating without the MoEF clearance is a bauxite mine. PAC data reveals that leading mines firms like Chowgule & Company Ltd., Salgaonkar & Brothers Ltd., Emco Goa Pvt. Ltd., Mohanlal Rege, Palondicar Mines were carrying out mining operations illegally.
PAC also discovered that eight mines were operating beyond the permitted capacity and has directed the Mines & Geology Department to immediately write to MoEF to revoke the Environmental Clearance granted to these mines.
The department has been asked to submit a action taken report by the last week of May which would be before 25th May when the next PAC meeting is scheduled.
Besides, PAC has also directed the department to monitor and regulate the 320 mining ore dump identified by it. These dumps have around 750 metric tones of ore and need to monitored to prevent illegal transportation of ore, said Parrikar.