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Goa's illegal mining report in 45 days

india Updated: Oct 03, 2011 12:54 IST

Reuters
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A federal government-appointed panel probing allegations of illegal mining in Goa, India's biggest iron ore exporting state, will submit its report within 45 days, its chief told a television channel on Monday.

"In number of cases environmental clearance is granted for say 55 million tonnes and the removal is something more, apart from that there are no clearances.... we may have to verify each and every case and that may take time," MB Shah, head of the panel, told television channel CNBC TV-18.

The western state, which exported 54.4 million tonnes of iron ore last fiscal, is home to Sesa Goa , the biggest private
iron ore exporter in India.

"...unless exports of iron ore is controlled till everything is streamlined, it will be very difficult to control illegal mining," said Shah.

There has been increased scrutiny on the iron ore sector by both Supreme court and the federal government, which is struggling to be seen as clamping down on corruption after being accused of failing to deal with graft.

The country's top court had banned mining of iron ore from Karnataka's Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga district due to environmental degradation and allegations of illegal mining.

The Supreme Court had relaxed the rules and allowed state-run NMDC to mine up to 1 million tonnes per month from Bellary region and allowed auctioning of 25 million tonnes of unsold stocks to cater to the needs of local steel companies.

Karnataka banned iron ore shipments in July last year to curb illegal mining and has yet to issue export permits, despite an order from the Supreme Court to lift the ban in April.