PANJIM, AUG 23
The ad-hoc committee on mines has flayed the three departments — Directorate of Mines, Forest Department and Goa State Pollution Control Board for the illegal mining in the State.
The committee, which has tabled its first report claimed that “these departments have been passing the buck when it came to illegal mining.”
“The State of Goa would not have faced this problem of illegal mines and pollution if these departments had to perform their duties responsibly,” the report says.
Further, report says, it is well taken that the Directorate of Mines looks after the enforcement of the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation Act, 1957), the Mineral Concession Rules I960, both of which are Central Legislations.
“...But the Directorate could have very well suggested necessary amendments to MoEF and other Ministries concerned. It should have been the responsibility and duty of Directorate of Mines to check that the mining activity is not done without environmental clearance and other required permissions,” the committee says.
The report also says action should have been taken against mining operations that continue without environmental clearance and other NOCs.
“It was the moral responsibility of the department to close down or cancel licences/lease of mines, whenever the mining rejects and other mining wastes posed threat/caused damage to paddy fields, fruit bearing crops, drinking water sources and other water bodies within the vicinity of mines,” the committee says.
The fact that the deemed clause is being misused by many in the mining sector is known to all the departments. Yet none of the above departments came forward to put an end to this. This could be because those who could stop this were hand in glove with the mining lobby, the members of the committee observed.
The Committee feels that the Government should try to make up for its failure to control the illegal mining activities by passing strictures, amending the existing State and Central legislations pertaining to mining and related issues.
The Committee feels that all mining operations in the State, with or without valid mining lease concession, should be stopped.
Herald, Panjim, August 24, 2009