Posted On Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 08:13:11 AM
New Delhi: Days after the scathing indictment of the state government as well as the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest by the Justice Shah Commission in the Rs 35,000- crore Goa mining scam, the MoEF on Wednesday cancelled green clearances of all the 93 mines in the state.
• The mining companies will now have to submit all documents that are required for getting environment clearances afresh
A day earlier, the Goa government had decided to temporarilysuspend operations of all working mines in the state, but allowed transportation of the ore already mined. “The ministry has suspended clearance of all 93 mines and the companies will have to submit all required documents for getting environment clearances afresh," Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters here.
In his report, Justice Shah indicted the Indian Bureau of Mines, the MoEF, state directorate of mines, the state forest department and the Goa State Pollution Control Board for the illegal mining.
The report says the activity was spread over 500 hectares, several hundred acres of which was forest and government-owned land.
The voluminous report holds the state government and central government agencies party to the scam, along with the powerful mining operators, who, according to Justice Shah, plundered natural resources and facilitated an "unrestricted, unchecked and unregulated export of iron ore to China", which made the exporters of ore "richer and richer".
The report says that forest laws were completely flouted by the mining companies and even mines which were illegally functioning in forest areas were not stopped by government authorities.
"All mining activities should be stopped with immediate effect, including transportation for all mining leases where there is no approval or clearance of the Standing Committee of NBWL (National Board of Wild Life) and are falling within 10 km of eco-sensitive buffer zone," Shah has recommended.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the MoEF disregarded norms and Supreme Court orders to give clearances that facilitated rampant iron ore mining in Goa, covered the period when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held charge of the environment and forest portfolio.
‘Goa CM trying fool people’
Accusing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar of misleading the public, Natarajan said, “He is trying to fool and whitewash by pretending that he is taking action. Under which act has he suspended the permissions for all the 93 mining leases," she asked.
The environment minister also slammed the state for its decision to allow the ore that has already been extracted. “If the ore was extracted through illegal mining, then it should be confiscated and not allowed to be exported. ”