Continuing its crackdown on illegal iron ore mining in Goa, the state’s mines and geology department has asked mining firms to furnish details of mineral transportation from sites every day, starting next week.
“We want better monitoring. There will be a web interface that will provide us with the same information in real time when mining resumes after the monsoon,” said Prasanna Acha-rya, director, mines and geology department, which wants to keep a check on the state’s iron ore exports.
Last week, the state administration ordered Sesa Goa and Lithoferro mines to stop mining operations as they were polluting a rivulet at Advalpal village in Bicholim taluka of north Goa. Issued on April 16, the order was based on a 2006 criminal complaint filed by locals and the NGO, Goa Foundation, which alleged that the mining activity was polluting the river.
While Sesa Goa has been asked to stop phase 3 of its activity, Lithoferro will also have to pay the cost of restoring the rivulet. As part of the various measures being taken to monitor mining, the department has also asked lease holders to submit documents pertaining to mining leases.
“As many concessions were given during the Portuguese era, we have asked the firms to translate the documents into English before submitting them to the state,” said Acharya.
Other than this, the miners will have to submit the survey numbers of their leases and their Global Positioning Survey coordinates. “This will help us ascertain if they have gone beyond their lease areas,” Acharya said.
Apart from the number of trucks ferrying the iron ore daily, lease holders have to provide information about ships and their carrying capacities and challans of royalty payments to help authorities cross-check the information at the ports.
Mining firms will have to stick to one exit for trucks transporting ore from sites to jetties.
Action was taken against the two firms, Sesa Goa and Lithoferro, after an inspection revealed that the two firms had not taken adequate precautions to prevent the overflow of mining silt and dumps into the rivulet.
Heavy monsoon in 2006 flooded the village with mining silt, following which a petition was filed in court.
“The closure has been ordered as the mining activity disturbed the rivulet passing through the village with silt and dumps. Secondly, the administration said the coming monsoon would create problems for the rivulet,” said Claude Alvares, founder, Goa Foundation and a petitioner.