GSPCB decides to refund Rs 10.67 cr to 7 mine owners

PANAJI: In what could be a major financial relief to the mine owners, the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB), on Monday, decided to refund nearly Rs 10.67 crore to seven mine owners, who had paid magnanimously hiked fee to the board two years ago.

It may be recalled that, the Department of Science, Technology and Environment, in its gazette notification in 2011, had magnanimously  hiked the fee for issuing consent for operation under Goa Water and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules 2011.

“In today’s board meeting, it was decided to refund Rs 10.67 crore to seven mining companies, which had paid the fees as per 2011 notification, which was subsequently withdrawn by government,” said the GSPCB chairman, Mr Jose Manuel Noronha.

Mr Noronha further said that government had decided to review the fee structure after the withdrawal of 2011 notification, but it has not yet materialised, and apparently, fees are applicable as per 1998 structure.   
As per the 2011 notification, fee was hiked nearly 750 times, for instant – Chowgule and Company had to pay Rs 2 crore deposit, while amount applicable as per 1998 fee structure was barely Rs 27,000.

As per the 2011 notification, which was withdrawn later, mining company producing 0.1 million tonne ore per annum had to pay Rs 50 lakh, above 0.1 and up to 0.5 million tonne, Rs 90 lakh. Similarly, the firm producing 0.5 to 1 million tonne ore had to pay Rs 1.40 crore, that producing 1 million to 5 million tonne had to pay Rs 2 crore and that producing from 5 million to 10 million tonne had to pay Rs 2.40 crore.

Seven companies – Chowgule, Rajesh Timblo, two companies of Ajit Kadnekar, Ramacanta Velingkar and V D Chowgule had paid Rs 10.69 crore, after the fee was revised.

The secretary of Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association, Mr Glen Kalavampara said that the matter was settled much earlier, it was just a matter of time when board would refund the money to mine owners who paid the fees.
Mr Kalavampara said that “GMOEA welcomes the decision of refunding that comes at a time when mining is banned in Goa.”[NT]