Sunday, 18 August, 2019

SC cancels all mining leases in Goa, no operations post March 15

Supreme Court cancels 88 renewed Goa mining licences all activity to stop by March 16 SC cancels all mining leases in Goa, no operations post March 15
Russell Knight | 07 February, 2018, 21:55

According to the order issued by the apex court, all iron ore mining operations in the state must cease by March 15, and the state will auction the leases to companies which will have fresh environmental clearances (EC).

"Rapacious and rampant exploitation of our natural resources is the hallmark of our iron ore mining sector - coupled with a total lack of concern for the environment and the health and well-being of the denizens in the vicinity of the mines", a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said.

The apex court has ordered that the mining leases be given under a new policy.

"The process adopted for renewal by the government regarding the permit of mines is a violation of the law".

It further sought setting up of a special investigation team (SIT) comprising a chartered accountant for recovery of amount from mining companies that were allowed mining through renewed leases. The state renewed 31 mining leases on January 12, 2015, the day when Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Ordinance came into force.

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Almost 88 iron ore mining leases granted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in 2015, right before the new environmental laws came into force.

Last year, the Goa Foundation appealed this decision before the apex court; that case is also being heard in this batch of cases.

Prashant Bhushan, the lawyer for the Goa Foundation, wrote on his Twitter account saying "Kudos to the Supreme Court for cancelling 88 iron ore licenses" and added that the renewal granted by the BJP led Goa government was "worse than Coalgate and bigger scam".

It was on their petition that the Panaji bench of the Bombay high court on 13 August 2014 directed the Goa government to execute second renewal of leases in favour of companies that had paid the required stamp duty. ".In that judgement, I understand, the court has also said that auction may not necessarily be the means".

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