The Supreme Court on Friday banned mining operations in Goa on the basis of Justice MB Shah Commission report that claimed illegal mining there has caused a loss of Rs. 35,000 crore to the exchequer in the last 12 years.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam issued notice to the Centre and the state government. Mining firms have also been restrained from exporting and selling ores that has already been extracted.
Acting on a PIL filed by an NGO — Goa Foundation — seeking a probe into the illegal mining activities in the state, the court further directed the SC appointed the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to submit its report within four weeks.
This is the second instance of illegal mining that has come before the SC. Before that, the court had kept mining operations on hold for over a year in Karnataka.
The SC had on September 3 this year allowed operations only in 18 mines out of the 100 where irregularities were found by the CEC.
The ban order came even as the government had on September 10 temporarily suspended all mining operations till October 2012.
Goa Foundation alleged in its petition that despite the suspension order private companies continued to transport ore from the mines.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, submitted that all the mining leases in the state suffered from multiple illegalities.
He pressed for setting up of a special probe team to investigate the alleged loss to the state revenue, the illegalities committed in mining activities and the connivance of public servants in abetting the same.