The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday directed a stop to all transportation of iron ore, for which royalty had been paid to the state government, by setting aside the Goa Chief Secretary’s order allowing movement of royalty-paid iron ore lying outside the mining lease areas. The order by Justice Prithviraj Chavan and Justice N.M. Jamdar, which could be seen as a setback to the state’s mining industry, also directs the state government decide within four weeks as to whether it can take possession, sell and dispose the disputed iron ore to utilise the proceeds for public purpose.
“The court has also asked the Indian Bureau of Mines to verify the iron ore production figures in view of large discrepancies, while also asking the state Director of Mines and Geology to take charge of mines safety, since they were no longer in possession of lease holders,” petitioner and Goa Foundation founder Claude Alvares, who had filed a petition in the High Court bench seeking a stoppage to the illegal transportation of iron ore, told reporters here.
According to official statistics, nearly 30,000 tons of iron ore is lying dumped outside mining leases as of April-end. On March 15 this year, the Supreme Court had banned all mining activity, including transportation of iron ore, from Goa’s 88 mining leases.
Following the ban, the state government, through an order by Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma, had allowed the mining lease holders to transport iron ore from dumps which had accumulated outside the lease areas, after payment of due royalty to the state government.