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SC halts all mining operations in Goa

Mining operations in all the 90 mines in Goa were ordered to be halted on Friday by the Supreme Court on the basis of the Justice M B Shah Commission report, which estimated a whopping Rs 35,000 crore to the exchequer due to illegal mining in the last 12 years.

Mining companies have also been restrained from exporting and selling ores which has already been extracted.

A three judge bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam took note of the commission's report and issued notice to the centre and the state government.

The bench also asked the apex court-appointed Central Empowered Committee to submit its report on the illegal mining in the state within four weeks. The bench passed the order on a public-interest litigation [PIL] filed by an NGO Goa Foundation, which sought probe in the illegal mining activities in the state.

On 10 September, the state government had temporarily suspended all mining operations till October 2012, but the petitioner alleged that suspension did not affect the trade, as the private companies are transporting the ores from mines.

The court is already seized of the illegal mining cases in Karnataka, where, after halting all mining activities for more than year, it had on 3 September allowed operations in only 18 mines out of more than 100 mines where the irregularities were minimum.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO submitted that all the mining leases in the state suffer from illegality and many of them are suffering from multiple illegalities.
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