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Shah Commission Report: Gross Violations of Mining Companies

GoaChronicle.com brings to you details of the NDTV report on the findings of Justice MB Shah Commission on Mining in Goa. The Shah Commission is expected to submit its Interim Report to the Union Ministry of Mines in the second half of December…

The Shah Commission report as told to NDTV Channel is divided into two parts, in the first part the report lists out eight violations under various sections of the mining law.
1. Mines operating without deemed extension
2. Mines not following Bombay High Court directions Order # 77 of 18.07.03
3. Mines violating Wildlife Protection Act, Forest Act
4. Mines violating Rule 13 of MCDR, 1988: Mining operations to be in accordance with mining plans (see list below)
5. Mines violating Rule 31, 37 and 46 of MCR, 1960: Lease to be executed within six months, transfer or assignment of lease (see list below)
6. Mines violating Rule 38 of MCR, 1960: Amalgamation of lease (see list below)
7. Transportation of ore without permit
8. Mines operating and extracting ore from outside leased areas

The part two of the report deals with violations under the Forest Conservation Act and Environment Protection Act. This part of the report is yet to be completed.

Key Observation of the Report
Justice Shah seems to have reacted strongly to the public hearings conducted as part of the report, where members of the truck owners associations whose trucks transport the ore packed the hearings and didn’t let anyone speak. According to the Commission, the truck owners, most of whom are local Goans from villages in the mining areas argued that while there is illegal mining, it should be permitted since many livelihoods depended on it.
In response, Justice Shah writes, ‘Are we going to regularize illegality’
Second important observation is ‘Concerned departments of state and Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) failed to control illegal mining for reasons best known to them. The reason may be corruption’

The report also recommends:
• A ban an iron ore exports from Goa
• Nationwide ban on iron ore exports till remedy found
• Ore exports main cause of corruption and illegality
• Estimate reserves, then decide exports

Mines violating Rule 13 of Mineral Conservation and Development Rules (MCDR) 1988:
Mining operations to be in accordance with mining plans:

(1) Every holder of a mining lease shall carry out mining operations in accordance with the approved mining plan with such conditions as may have been prescribed under sub-rule (2) of rule 9 or with such modifications, if any, as permitted under rule 10 or the mining plan or scheme approved under rule 11 or 12 as the case may be.

(2) If the mining operations are not carried out in accordance with the mining plan as referred to under sub-rule (1), the Regional Controller or the authorised officer may order suspension of all or any of the mining operations and permit continuance of only such operations as may be necessary to restore the conditions in the mine as envisaged under the said mining plan.

Mines violating Rule 31, 37 and 46 of Mineral Concession Rules (MCR) 1960:

Rule 31

Lease to be executed within six months. –

(1) Where, on an application for the grant of a mining lease, an order has been made for the grant of such lease, a lease deed in Form K or in a form as near thereto as circumstances of each case may require, shall be executed within six months of the order or within such further period as the State Government may allow in this behalf, and if no such lease deed is executed within the said period due to any default on the part of the applicant, the State Government may revoke the order granting the lease and in that event the application fee shall be forfeited to the State Government.

(2) the date of the commencement of the period for which a mining lease is granted shall be the date on which a duly executed deed under sub-rule (1) is registered.]

Rule 37

Transfer of lease. – (1) The lessee shall not, without the previous consent in writing of the State Government and in the case of mining lease in respect of any mineral specified in [Part ‘A’ and Part ‘B’ of] the First Schedule to the Act, without the previous approval of the Central Government :-
(a) assign, sublet, mortgage, or in any other manner, transfer the mining lease, or any right, title or interest therein, or
(b) enter into or make any [bonafide] arrangement, contract, or understanding whereby the lessee will or may be directly or indirectly financed to a substantial extent by, or under which the lessee’s operations or undertakings will or may be substantially controlled by, any person or body of persons other than the lessee:
Provided further that where the mortgagee is an institution or a Bank or a Corporation specified in Schedule V, it shall not be necessary for the lessee to obtain any such consent of the State Government.
(1A) The State Government shall not give its consent to transfer of mining lease unless the transferee has accepted all the conditions and liabilities which the transferor was having in respect of such mining lease.
(2) Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-rule (1) the lessee may,  transfer his lease or any right, title or interest therein to a person who has filed an affidavit stating that he has filed an up-to-date income-tax returns, paid the income tax assessed on him and paid the income tax on the basis of self-assessment as provided in the Income Tax Act, 1961( 43 of 1961), on payment of a fee of five hundred rupees to the State Government :
Provided that the lessee shall make available to the transferee the original or certified copies of all plans of abandoned workings in the area and in a belt 65 metres wide surrounding it ;
Provided further that where the mortgagee is an institution or a Bank or a Corporation specified in Schedule V, it shall not be necessary for any such institution or Bank or Corporation to meet with the requirement relating to income tax ;
Provided further that the lessee shall not charge or accept from the transferee any premium in addition to the sum spent by him, in obtaining the lease, and for conducting all or any of the operations referred to in rule 30 in or over the land leased to him ;
(3) The State Government may, by order in writing determine any lease at any time if the lessee has, in the opinion of the State Government, committed a breach of any of the provisions of sub-rule (1) or sub-rule (1A) or has transferred any lease or any right, title or interest therein otherwise than in accordance with sub-rule (2) ; Provided that no such order shall be made without giving the lessee a reasonable opportunity of stating his case.

Rule 46

Transfer or assignment
(1) No prospecting license or mining lease or any right, title or interest in such licence or lease shall be transferred to a person unless he has filed an affidavit stating that he has filed an up to date income tax return, paid the income tax assessed on him and paid the income tax on the basis of self-assessment as provided in the Income Tax Act, 1961(43 of 1961).

(2) No prospecting license or mining lease or any right, title or interest in such licence or lease in respect of any mineral specified in the First Schedule to the Act shall be transferred except with the previous approval of the Central Government.

Mines violating Rule 38 of MCR, 1960:

According to Rule 38 of Mining Concession Rules 1960 –

Amalgamation of leases: The State Government may, in the interest of mineral development and with reasons to be recorded in writing, permit amalgamation of two or more adjoining leases held by a lessee:
• Provided that the period of amalgamated leases shall be co-terminus with the lease whose period will expire first.
• Provided further that prior approval of the Central Government shall be required for such amalgamation in respect of leases for minerals specified in Part ‘A’ and Part ‘B’ of the First Schedule to the Act.].

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