SC hearing on mining: CEC likely to file report today


 The Supreme Court appointed Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) is likely to file its report on Thursday even as the government is to file its affidavit once the CEC report is filed.
The matter is to come up before the forest bench of the apex court on Thursday.
The court has issued an interim order directing that mining operations, transportation and exports of iron ore from the state be suspended pending the submission of the CEC report.
The committee headed by Mr Jaykrishna has been asked to inquire into illegal iron ore mining in the state after a writ had alleged large scale illegalities in the mining industry that were pointed out in the Justice M B Shah commission of inquiry and before that in the PAC report.
Sources say that Sesa Goa, Goa Mining Association, Goa Mining Labour Welfare Union, South Goa Truck Owners Association, All Goa Barge Owners Association and a mine owner filed individual petitions in the court contending that they were not heard by Justice M B Shah Commission during hearings before its report was finalised and submitted.
They have asked for an opportunity to present their side before the court before a final verdict was reached. An NGO has moved the court asking for a ban on mining after Shah Commission had unearthed a Rs 35,000 Irongate scam, and alleged that almost all leases operating in the state were illegal. The CEC had heard mining companies, representatives of transporters including truckers and barges, mining machinery owners and panchayats from mining areas during its 4-day visit to the state. The committee had also visited both north and south Goa mining belts and passed some acerbic observation on the devastation witnessed during its trip.
The state mining department was also pulled up for its haphazard record keeping and the Chief Secretary was asked to come to the committee office along with the concerned officers to submit additional data.
This data was ultimately submitted along with a letter. The government in its submission to the CEC had promised to regulate mining and given details on how it intended to handle dumps and its plan on the way forward for the mining industry in the state. [NT]