The Goa-based NGO behind the ban on mining in the state has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant stalled the auction of new mining leases, as directed by the Supreme Court to restart the industry.
Goa Foundation, whose petition led to the ban in 2012, also wrote that Sawant was “unwilling to recover the sum of Rs 3,431.31 crore from mining lease holders”, whom the apex court had found to be defaulters due to illegal mining.
The letter also claims that ore is being sold in the Chinese market. “….the absolute onus for non-start of mining operations in Goa lies on Dr Sawant’s shoulders… Dr Sawant has successfully stalled the process of mineral lease auctions by lobbying for the former mining lease-holders,” read the letter written by NGO director Claude Alvares.
In his letter to PM Modi, Alvares added that Goa has no option but to go for auctions and obtain fresh environmental clearances, as all existing leases had expired on in November 2007, and that all mining thereafter was illegal. He said he drafted the letter after a recent Goa order permitting transport and export of iron ore stocks up to July 31, 2020 that “directly favours former lease-holders and traders who have spot contracts with China”.
The state has filed a review petition in the Supreme Court, with the next date of hearing awaited.