SC notice to MoEF on Sesa Goa export plea

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: May 9 2013, 09:26am hrs
The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought response from the environment ministry and others on an application filed by Sesa Goa seeking permission to transport, sell and export 4.766 million tonne of already mined iron ore lying at various locations in Goa.

A special green bench headed by Justice TS Thakur issued notice to the Centre, Central Empowered Committee (CEC), which is assisting the apex court in environmental matters, and Goa Foundation, the NGO on whose plea blanket ban on mining operations was imposed last year in the state.

Seeking modifications to the SCs last years order that suspended mining operations in the state, Sesa Goa, the once-flagship iron ore producer of Anil Agarwal-controlled Vedanta Resources, argued for lifting of ban in view of thousands of people, who are directly or indirectly involved with mining, having lost their sole source of income.

Sesa Goa, the countrys largest producer and exporter of iron ore in the private sector, also said that such lifting of ban on exports would boost the states economy which it is in dire need.

Even prior to the Goa government and the apex courts ordering suspension of all mining in the state, around 4.766 mt of iron ore, stocked at various locations including jetties, ports, stockyards and mine stockyards, was ready for exports, it stated in its application filed through counsel Kiran Suri.

With the monsoon in Goa round the corner, the company apprehended that the ore lying at various locations for over seven months may be washed away and cause significant environmental damage to the adjacent water bodies and valuable natural national resources.

"there is a very clear danger of the stocked ore at all these locations being washed away and this could spell a huge environmental disaster and so also entail economic loss not only of a natural resource but also of significant revenue to the state and Central governments such as taxes, export duties and other levies which would have otherwise accrued to them had the aforesaid stock of royalty paid ore been exported, Suri said.