Rampant Illegal Mining in State: PAC Report

GoaChronicle.com brings to you the official report synopsis of the investigations of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) headed then by the current Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar. It raises serious questions to the CM’s changed stance on illegal mining now that it is a BJP-led government at the helm of affairs…

When the Congress government refused to table the Public Accounts Committee (PAC); GoaChronicle.com through its sources procured the report and put it LIVE online. We have re-released the documents. And we wanted to show the people of Goa the most important conclusion note or synopsis of the report which was compiled by the Committee headed by its Chairman, then, Manohar Parrikar.

Here is what it says on Page 40 and Page 41 of the PAC report

The Committee, after studying the details provided and subsequent supplies from the Lease Holders, arrived at the conclusion that the Mining in the State is beset with substantial ILLEGALITIES. The details enclosed in the subsequent chapters of the report clearly indicates that there has been ‘RAMPANT ILLEGAL MINING in the state’ violating not only Environmental Laws but the very Mining Laws itself under which the Mining Operations are required to be carried out. In our opinion this is not possible without the active connivance of the Directorate of Mines, its officials, the Indian Bureau of Mines and its officials and other Authorities which are required to ensure that any activity is carried out in accordance with law. It is indeed a very sorry state of affairs that the Department of Mines in Goa seems to be neither aware of its duties and responsibilities nor of the orders passed by the Apex Court from time to time; nor is it aware of the factual situation of the Mines. It appears that in certain cases, the department has issued permissions for stacking Ore outside the Mining Lease, when in terms of the MMRD Act vide Section 9 read with Rule 64 C of the Mineral Concession Rules 1960 and the Judgement and Order of the Honorable Supreme Court of India in the case of NMDC v/s State of MP reported in 2004, the Royalty is required to be paid once the Ore is taken out of the Mine for commercial purpose.

It appears that there is a deliberate attempt on the part of the Department of Mines to remain a silent spectator while allowing RAMPANT ILLEGAL MINING that is going in the state. The Department ought to be aware of its responsibilities. The Department has completely failed in performing its duties and the kind of ILLEGAL MINING which is going on would not have been possible unless the same is done with the blessing of the persons in power and/or by bribing the officials of the Directorate of Mines, the Indian Bureau of Mines as well as the Government of Goa. There is a complete breakdown of all machineries provided by the Statue which are required to ensure that mining is undertaken and carried out in a legally permissible manner. The term ‘IRREGULAR MINING’ is nothing but ‘ILLEGAL MINING’.

On page 42 of the PAC Report, the Committee states:

We have no alternative but to arrive at the conclusion having regard to the illegalities which have been mentioned herein above, that the ILLEGAL MINING in Goa is being carried on with active connivance of the politicians in Power, the Directorate of Mines and the Indian Bureau of Mines; all of whom have singularly failed to uphold the Rule of Law and have created chaos and disorder in dealing with highly sensitive ecological matters. The Government of Goa and the politicians in power are squarely responsible for such ecological degradation being presently undertaken by illegal mining operations which are being carried out.

It also appears that the numerous Condonations of Delay granted by the Government of Goa especially the Mining Department, have been done without any authority of Law and by completely negating the Provisions of Law. We have come across several shocking instances of the year 1995 onwards wherein delays have been condoned by the State Government. All such delays which have condoned are COMPLETELY ILLEGAL after expiry of the Leases and these cases need to be reopened and fresh decisions taken for reviewing the same. We have also come across few cases of delays being condoned recently by the State Government wherein delays have been condoned after having obtained legal opinions. We find that legal opinion have been given on incomplete or manipulated data provided.

Page 43 of the PAC Reports; indicates three different ILLEGALITIES:

1. Illegalities relating to Illicit Extractions, where Royalties appears to have been paid.

a) Iron Ore extracted from Leases that have submitted ‘J’ Forms after the final date of application i.e. 22nd November 1988, in accordance with the Goa, Daman and Diu Mining Concession(Abolition and Declaration as Mining Lease) Act 1987 and various Notifications issued under Chapter 1.

b) Iron Ore extracted from Leases that have not fulfilled essential conditions laid down in Environment Clearance Certificates, thereby constituting illegal extraction, resulting in damage to the Environment including Forest and Wildlife of State.

c) Iron Ore that is claimed to be extracted from various previously existing dumps, which were consiting of Ore that was considered ‘non saleable’ due to lower ‘Fe’ Content in the range of 46 per cent to 56 per cent.

d) Iron Ore extracted from Leases Holders who are granted lease to operate based on incorrect representations of frauds/forgeries in documents.

2. Ore Extracted in excess of Production as per with Directorate of Mines and Geology without Payment of Royalties

a) Export of Ore, that is either not accounted for, in production or is treated as ‘Unclassied’, due to the Source of Extraction being not known.

3. Illegalities that have caused large scale damage to Environment

a) Issuance of EC Certificates without verification of data provided in Environmental Impact Assessment, as, also without considering the various objections of genuine nature raised by the locals during public hearings.

On the Page 44 of the PAC Report, the Committee states;

If all above illegalities are added up to the total quantum of ILLEGAL MINING for the past two years adds to an average of around 19 to 20 Million Tonnes Per Annum.

The Committee came to conclusion that ILLEGAL MINING has resulted in the strain on the Infrastructure, Ecology, Agriculture and threatens to destroy the water security of the State; if not curbed immediately. Further, the overburden of the ILLEGAL MINING is damaging the prospects of legal mining that has been going on in the State prior to Liberation. If ILLEGALITIES are not curbed immediately the legal mining also may face closure, resulting into financial crisis in the interior districts of the state.

More on PAC here

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