Mining case: Alvares defends findings of Shah panel, CEC


 In a reply to the state government’s affidavit in on going mining case in the Supreme Court, petitioner NGO, Goa Foundation, has countered the state government on its assumptive claims to curb illegal mining and defended findings of justice M B Shah and Central Empowered Committee.

Petitioner, Dr Claude Alvares of Goa Foundation, has claimed in its reply that the affidavit filed by the Goa government either seeks to bypass the findings of justice M B Shah and Central Empowered Committee (CEC) or find them innocuous.
Dr Alvares has mentioned that the state government’s affidavit is mostly based on its futuristic proposal, which is yet to be materialised, while in some cases compliance is not yet filed before the court.
“Whether the state government is capable of monitoring, regulating and controlling the mining trade, it is important for SC to examine the main stands taken in the affidavit, since the state government largely disagrees with the reports of both the Justice Shah Commission and the CEC on the extent of illegal mining and whether in fact there is illegal mining at all in Goa,” he has stated in the reply.
Petitioner has questioned as to why the list of legal mining is not mentioned in state government affidavit though it took time of five months to file it.
Casting aspersions on the work of the Justice Shah Commission and the CEC as is done in this affidavit is simply unacceptable conduct, the petitioner has mentioned in the reply, adding “none of the persons involved in the Justice Shah Commission or the CEC stand to gain in any material way from their reports despite their obvious labours.”
The petitioner has strongly objected to the suggestion that just because the CEC has pointed out serious irregularities in the mining industry in Goa, therefore the CEC should be replaced.
Petitioner has also placed before the court the summaries of 23 scientific research studies conducted by Ministry of Environment and Forest, National Institute of Oceanography, NEERI, TERI among others indicating mining impact on flora, fauna and land.
The reply has further pointed out as per CEC report over the period 2005-2011, total ore exported from Goa is 1553.724 lakh tonne, of which, 395.645 lakh tonne is illegally exported without payment of even royalty due to the state exchequer, which is valued at $ 6.3 billion. [NT]