In a setback to the mining industry in Goa, the Bombay High Court today set aside the state government’s order allowing the transportation of royalty-paid iron ore lying outside the lease areas. The Goa bench of the high court comprising Justices N M Jamdar and Prithviraj Chauhan passed the order on a petition filed by NGO Goa Foundation, which has opposed the transportation of ore.
The mining activities in Goa have come to a standstill from March 16 as per the Supreme Court orders. The apex court, on February 7, had set aside the second renewals granted to 88 mining leases, which were granted time to manage their affairs till March 15. Goa Foundation, on whose petition the SC had quashed the mining leases, had approached the high court against the state government’s March 21 order allowing the transportation of ore.
The bench today set aside the order passed by state Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma allowing the movement and export of that ore lying outside the mining leases for which the royalty has been paid by the lease holders.
After the state government’s order, a total 30,000 tonnes of ore lying outside the leases was transported till the end of April, the official website of the Directorate of Mines and Geology (DMG) of the Goa government said.
The HC today granted four weeks time to the state to decide on the ownership of the iron ore lying outside the leases across the state.
The petitioner has sought a declaration that all ore lying outside the mining lease areas and ore transported from March 16 belonged to the state and therefore cannot be a subject matter of commercial transaction or trade or transport by any person other than the state.