Goa mining: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has defended the second renewal of iron ore mining leases given to 88 companies in Goa in 2015. The Supreme Court had quashed the move. Parrikar said that the move was done based on the Bombay High Court decision. “If you see, the High Court proceeded on an erroneous basis that it could direct the state of Goa to grant a second renewal of the mining leases notwithstanding the direction in Goa Foundation,” Parrikar said.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said mining lease holders, who have been granted a second renewal in violation of its previous decision and directions, are granted time to manage their affairs and may continue mining operations till March 15 this year. “However, they are directed to stop all mining operations with effect from March 16, 2018 until fresh mining leases (not fresh renewals or other renewals) are granted and fresh environmental clearances are granted,” the bench said. “The second renewal of the mining leases granted by the State of Goa was unduly hasty, without taking all relevant material into consideration and ignoring available relevant material and therefore not in the interests of mineral development,” it added.
“The second renewal of the mining leases granted by the State of Goa is liable to be set aside and is quashed,” the bench held. The apex court also directed the setting up of an SIT and a team of chartered accountants to recover the amount from mining companies, which were allowed to extract ore in violation of the law. The judgement came on a petition filed by an NGO, Goa Foundation, which had earlier also raised the issue of companies carrying out mining in violation of various statutes.