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Proper system ‘must’ to control iron ore mining in Goa, says SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday said there should be a proper system in place to regulate mining and other related activities in Goa where iron ore extractions in 90 mines had been banned by it following the report of a panel that illegal mining was going on there.

‘We feel that a proper system of check is the must,’ the forest bench headed by Justice AK Patnaik said when one of the firms submitted that the violations of mining rules or regulations cannot be attributed to all uniformly.

‘The alleged violations of various rules, regulations and law (by mining firms) may differ from case to case,’ senior advocate CA Sundaram, appearing for a firm, said.

One of the mining firms told the court that an order may be passed barring recently-constituted National Green Tribunal (NGT) from entertaining any plea related to the PIL and other petitions, which are related to iron ore mining in Goa and are pending in the apex court.

‘The issue related to the subject matter of this writ petition be not allowed to be heard by NGT,’ Sundaram said.
Earlier, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Sesa Goa, a Vedanta group firm which is the largest producer and exporter of iron ore in the country, said the court should allow the export of mined iron ore which are lying as wastes at various mines in Goa.

‘The court may put any condition as it deem fit and allow the export of iron ore which are lying. The year-long ban on mining may also affect the export licence of the mining companies,’ Rohatgi said.

NGO Goa Foundation, which had filed the PIL on the alleged illegal iron ore extraction in Goa, had also taken the plea that there should be a cap on maximum limit of mining as the minerals needed to be preserved for future generations also in pursuance of principle of inter-generational equity.

Earlier, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had said its expert body will review all 137 environment clearance certificates (ECCs) granted to Goa mining firms during 2005-2010.
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