Goa mining scam-chaos on its way

There is expected to be chaos in the Goa assembly when the Bharatiya Janata Party raises the issue of illegal mining. The issue has become a major one with the Shah Commission probing the illegalities pertaining to the mining industry inGoa.

The Shah Commission continues to examine the illegalities committed in the Goamining industry and here are a couple of examples of what they would be probing. The government records show that from the sixty-six mining lessees – 1, 54, 44,245 tons (15 million metric tons in the past three years) where extracted illegally. Even if we take the sale price of that iron ore extracted at only Rs 4000 per metric ton as per the lowest market value of iron-ore sold in the open market; it will give you a sum total amounting to over Rs 6100 crore, which is a estimate of the illegal mining done in Sattari and Sanguem as per the government of Goa own records.
R S Shetye & Bros in its mines, TC No 70/51 had not obtained its Environmental Clearance under the Wildlife Protection Act from the Chief Wildlife Local Warden, yet in 2008-09 it extracted 11,71,234 tons and in 2009-10 it extracted 11,77,707 tons.  If we put a figure to that amount it is a shocking total of over 939 crore.

Sesa Goa in its mines, TC No 6/55 had not obtained its Environment Clearance as well from Wildlife Board yet it extracted in 2008-09 7,45,562 tons, 2009-10 6,65,976 tons and 2010-2011 (up to January) 5,12,378. If we put a figure to that extraction of iron ore it is another shocking amount of over Rs 769 crore. In its mine in TC No 28/51 the company extracted 26,732 tons above the Environmental Clearance Quantity capping which amounts to over Rs 10 crore.
VG Quenim mining lease of TC 16/55 had an Environmental Clearance Quantity capping of only 4,37,000 tons per annum. Yet in 2008-09 it extracted 2,24,683 tons more and in 2009-10 it extracted 2,81,401 more making a gross total over 5,06,083 tons more than what was permitted. It is over Rs 202 crore.
Chowgule & Co in its mine in TC 31/55 also did not obtain its environmental clearance from the wildlife authorities yet it mined 1, 99,937 tons in 2008-09, 2, 32,795 tons in 2009-10 and 1, 20,273 tons up to January 2011. A total of 5, 53,005 tons of iron ore was illegally extracted which amounts to Rs 221 crore. In TC No 41/56 this company has extracted 60,366 illegally since it did not have its EC from the Forest Department. It illegally extracted ore worth over Rs 24 crore.

Damodar Mangalji & Co in TC 95/52 extracted a total of 17,500 tons in the past three years; however it did not have its EC from the CWLW. – An illegal mining worth Rs 7 crores. But in TC No 2/71 for the last three years with EC it extracted 74,708 tons illegally worth 29 crore.
VS Dempo in TC No 20/54 extracted 1, 64,656 above the EC quantity capping for the last three years, illegal mining worth over Rs 65 crore. In TC No 5/54 it extracted 3, 88,352 tons more that EC quantity capping permission worth over Rs 155 crore.

In TC No 7/41 Emco Goa Pvt Ltd had not obtained the EC from the wildlife authorities yet in the past three years it has extracted 99,627 tons from its leased mine worth over Rs 39 crore, illegally. The contractor as per government records is Minas E Minerias De Goa Ltd

In TC No 88/52 Soc. Timblos Irmaos went 28,964 tons above EC quantity capping, when computed it amounts to Rs 11 crore. However, in TC No 87/53 it did not have it EC from the wildlife authorities yet is extracted a total of 10, 70,675 tons of iron ore amounting to Rs 428 crore in the past three years.
VM Salgaocar & Bros in TC No 50/53 extracted a total of 8, 14,999 tons of iron ore even when it did not have it is EC from the wildlife authorities, this ore extract is worth over Rs 325 crore. In the TC No 13/55 the company has extracted 1, 59,383 tons more the EC quantity capping permitted, this iron ore is worth over Rs 67 crore. all this in the past three years
NCP leader Prafulla Hede Company having his mine in TC No 30/50 extracted iron ore even though it did not have the EC clearance of 22,087 tons worth over Rs 8 crore.

Mine lease in the name of the late Cipriano DeSouza in TC No 7/58 even though it had no clearance from the wildlife authorities. This mine extracted iron ore of 1, 52,049 tons in the last three years at a currently valued amount of Rs 60 crore. This mining contractor is Salgaocar Mining Industries
The lessee company Mohanlal Rege in TC No 50/58 according to the Department of Mines record extracted only 3848 tons in the last three years but it did not its EC from the forest department. The value amount when compared to the other companies is Rs 1.53 crore.

The mine lessee belonging to the Late Atmaram Palondicar in TC No 17/49 extracted 2, 10,000 tons of iron ore worth over Rs 84 crore even though it had not got the EC clearance required under the Wildlife Protection Act and from the wildlife authorities.

Shantilal Kushaldas & Bros Pvt Ltd in TC No 28/52 extracted 2, 28,367 tons of iron ore with getting the EC clearance from the forest department even though it got a clearance from the wildlife authorities. The value of the ore extracted is estimated to be over Rs 91 crore.

Chowgule & Co in TC No 22/50 extracted in 2009-10 192,270 tons of iron ore more than the EC quantity capping permissible. The estimated value of this illegal extraction is Rs 76 crore.

In the mining lease belonging to Ravindra T Deulkar at TC No 20/51, 1, 12, 288 tons of iron ore was extracted even though no EC from wildlife authorities was obtained. The estimated value of the illegal mining on this mine is Rs 45 crore.

The contractor of this mine is the Timblos Mineral Pvt Ltd.

In TC No 65/51 belonging to the mining lease holder the Late Amalia Rodrigues Fiquereido even though there was no EC clearance from the Forest Department yet 2, 30,956 was extracted which is worth Rs 92 crore. The contractor to this mine as per government records is Imran Traders.
Sesa Goa in its mine in TC No 69/51 extracted over 36, 46,214 tons of iron ore and it did not even have the EC clearance under the Wildlife Protection Act. It is a shocking amount of Rs 1458 crore according to market estimates in the past three years.

Mines owners Mineira National Ltd in TC No 62/51 extracted 4, 63,866 tons in the past three years over and above the EC quantity capping permitted to this mine. The ore extracted is worth over Rs 185 crore. The contractor is Hardesh Ores Pvt Ltd.

NS Narvekar mines in TC 40/51 did not get its EC clearance from the forest department yet it extracted 3, 23,700 tons in the last three years. The amount is estimated to be worth Rs 129 crore. The contractor to this mine as per government records is Hardesh Ores Ltd.

Soc Timblos Irmaos Ltd in TC No 143/53 extracted 62,803 tons more the EC quantity capping permitted in January 2011; the iron-ore is worth Rs 25 crore.

The mining lease company Sova (Balkrishna Avde) in TC No 45/54 had not EC clearance from the wildlife department yet it extracted 11, 44, 545 tons of iron ore estimated at shocking value of over Rs 457 crore.
In TC No 41/54 belonging to mining lease holder the late Ahilibai Sardesai, without an EC clearance from the wildlife authorities this mine extracted 8, 17,506 tons in the last three years valued at over Rs 327 crore. The contractor of this mine as per government records is VS Dempo & Co Pvt Ltd.
Mines owners Marzook & Cadar Ltd in TC No 4/55 did not have the EC according to the rules of the Wildlife Protection Act and it extracted 3, 06,424 tons in the last three years valued at over Rs 122 crore
In TC No 2/57 belonging to Mahableshwar Garco 1, 21,000 tons of iron ore was extracted even though this mine also did not have its EC clearance according to the Wildlife Protection Act rules. The estimated value in the market is over Rs 48 crore.

Does the Congress have answers for Goa?

There was a hue and cry after the Lokayukta report on illegal mining at Bellary and in fact it even went on to cost B S Yeddyurappa his chair as the Chief Minister of Karnataka. Today the entire focus is on Goa which according to the preliminary report of the Shah Commission gives the indication that illegal mining here is nothing short of theBellaryscenario.

Per se, it does not appear to be a simple case as it does involve a great deal of politicians in the ruling Congress. In addition to this there is also a direct link between Karnataka andGoathat can be found in this case and as investigations progress it becomes clear that the Digambar Kamath government will have a major headache to deal with. The Shah Commission has surveyed around 93 mines so far and has found illegalities in various stages.

Looking at bothBellaryandGoait becomes clear that the devastation is almost similar in both these areas. However according to sources there is every likelihood of more devastation being found inGoa. There are around 135 mines inGoaand mining takes place in 4 taluks. What makes it worse is that last year alone around 50 million tonnes of ore has been extracted out of such a small area which gives the clear indication that the impact and rate at which mining has taken place is very disturbing.

Goahas long been a target of mining and according to records this activity started way back in the 1940s. However all these years this activity has been unchecked. Moreover this activity has been restricted to the forest areas inGoaand this has also added to the devastation. Another shocking fact is that there are around 800 mining leases given out inGoa, but the government says that only around 300 are in operation. This would mean that the rest of mining leases that have been granted are all operating illegally.

As the probe on illegal mining progresses more skeletons are expected to tumble out since the more one digs into these mines in Goa, the more illegalities can be found. There are some mines which have been operating for the past two decades without any approval from the authorities concerned. In addition to this what has also been found is that despite the expiry of leases in the year 2007 most of the mine owners continue to operate without any proper sanction. The most painful aspect of them all is that mining continues in areas next to wildlife sanctuaries despite a Supreme Court order banning all activity in a one kilometre radius. The most common factor that one finds between Goa andBellaryis that of raising contracts.Goais also a party to this illegality where mines are being run by proxy owners.

The Shah Commission would also depend on the statistics that are available with the Public Accounts Committee which clearly states that in the past 12 years 34 million tonnes of iron ore has been exported illegally from the mines inGoa.

The depositions before the Shah Commission is also another interesting aspect. The names of several big wigs have been tumbling out and more are expected to come out in the days to come. The names of several existing ministers and their children are cropping up during the probe. Chief Minister Digambar Kamath who has also been the mines minister for 12 years has actually got the most to answer. Probes have pointed out that several norms have been violated which also include the Forest Act which was seized off by the Supreme Court of India.

The Goa government’s role in helping the growth of illegal mining was infact a public affair in the year 2009. 400 villagers had come out in the open at the Rivona village to protest mining activity in a forest area by a minister. However in the bargain the protest was quelled with 400 of them chargesheeted for disturbing peace in the area.

Going by the documents in our possession it is also clear that theGoagovernment does not have the answers to several questions that were raised by the Shah Commission.

Here is a questionnaire which gives a fair idea of the action that has or has not been taken by theGoagovernment in this issue.

Whether there is any violation and whether notice is issued to the lease holders/ stockiest/trader

Nil

No. of cases processed in the Court(Charge-Sheet filed)

Nil

No. of transportation permits issued.

There is no system for issuing transportation permits in this state

No. of cases in which mines suspended.

Nil

No. of cases of mines terminated in which license/lease terminated. Whether any mine is siezed or confiscated?

Nil

Nos. of Mines restored.

Nil

Whether any special drive is started? If any, result there (with IBM or State task force/ flying squad) with number of visits of the mines.

21 mining leases were inspected with IBM as a part of Inspection in Endemic Area carried out by Task Force – II of IBM (Phase 4) from 15/3/11 to 21/3/2011.

Prevention action taken based on other source for iron ore or manganese.

In case of one mine which was not valid, action to lift old stacks of boulders was stopped.

Whether the satellite imagining technique used by any State Government to find out illegal mining ifIronOreand manganese? If yes, give details and result thereof.

No

Checking or users of iron and manganese and details of export, if available.

The Iron ore produced in Goa is export oriented

Price monitoring (give details of price trends).

Price monitoring is not done by this Directorate

Whether any check at railway point/road check/ post.

Nil

Whether any check at port.

At both the ports exports have to furnished NOCs to the Captain of Ports/MPT issued by the Directorate of Mines & Geology stating that the ore being transported is from a valid leases and the applicable royalty is paid to the state Government before sailing of the ship.

Cases of Illegal Mining detected as per production given in mining plan (for iron ore and manganese).

Details shall be furnished subsequently

In case of excess production than the proposed production, whether action is taken for illegal mining?

Wherever required action shall be initiated

Amount of royalty recovered and whether checked on way at the time of payment, whether it was checked that production is from valid lease or by authorized license?

With effect from November, 2008 any valid lease holder who has to pay royalty to the state Government is required to fill up a special challan designed in quadruplicate having a separate colour by itself. The challan is required to be authenticated by the special Designated officer of this Directorate before depositing the amount in the two Designated treasuries only of State Bank ofIndiaone in North Goa and other inSouth Goa. No unauthorized person can pay royalty/others dues without authentication.

In case mines detected, where no lease was existing, whether criminal case is launched under IPC? If yes, give details and result thereof.

Nil

Furnish information about production envisaged and the actual achieved/ reported. The grade of the iron ore and manganese ore produced in the State ? Furnished details regarding grade available and the grade mined? (The iron ore produced in the state is basically of low grade with 55%-58% Fe, which at present has export market.

Total quantity permitted for all 90 working mines as per Environmental Clearance limit is 46.084 MT for iron ore 1.0MT for Bauxite and a quantity of 161.8 MT was extracted during the last five years.

Undertaking mining in the area without taking approval of the concerned State Government for transferring concession.

Nil

Raising of minerals without appropriate authority;

Nil

Raising of minerals without paying royalty along with quantity and grade;

Verification of lease holder date in process.

What is the modus operandi and methods of illegal mining activities in your State ?

– Illegal mining has been detected in 15 cases during last 5 years. Broadly the modus operandi noticed are as following :-.

1. In the pretext of digging ponds/excavation of silt etc. The parties obtain permission from requisite authorities for digging well/pond, etc. and it is difficult to identify the genuine cases until through enquiry is conducted.

2. Exceeding the rated capacity stipulated in the E.C. limit.

3. Development of property is undertaken to win ore found to occur at the surface. However such incidence has not come to the notice of the Directorate. 4. Violation of Condition Stipulated in Environment Clearance.

Whether any State Mineral Policy is strictly adopted by the State?

State Mineral Policy is under formulation.

Any statutory provisions made by the State Government

The StateGovernment has framed Rules namelyGoa(Prevention of Illegal Mining, Transportation and Storage of minerals) Rules, 2004 to curb illegal mining and trading activities.

Whether the provision are sufficient for controlling illegal mining, if not, what are your suggestions ?

Yes, This Directorate is making necessary amendment to the Rules of 2004, after taking into consideration amendment to the Rule 45 of MCDR, 1988

What step would you like to suggest at the level of State and Central Government Authorities for curbing illegal mining

Transit passes.

Spot visit of Central EC Committee/Penal having State Government Authority

Assess carrying capacity of the area both in terms of number of mines and infrastructure.

To assess mining closure plan in case of multiple licence holding prior to issue of EC.

Registration of Mining Trucks

Registration of Traders .

Do you suggest blanket ban on export of iron ore and manganese ore would help to prevent illegal mining activities in the State ?

No, the grade of iron ore exported is low grae which has export potential at present. There is no indigenous consumption of iron ore. Thickly forested area should not be permitted for extraction of minerals.

What would be consequences, if such ban is imposed?

The Mining activities will come at standstill as iron ore produced inGoais export oriented.

Whether illegal Mining and Trade of Minerals illegal mining taking place under the patronage of any political parties, extremist elements for powerful local leaders or any other extra-constitutional elements ? If so, indicate such elements.

Nothing has come to the notice of this Directorate.

What is the frequency of inspection of lease/ mines in the State and whether all leases / mines are covered under inspections ?

The inspection of mining lease is taken up on receipt of any complaint

Whether any powers is given to Police /Forest/ Revenue officer under

MMDR Act? and do you think there is a lack of co-ordination between various State Agencies like Police, Revenue, Forest Land Records etc; which gives loopholes for illegal mining activities and transportation of illegally mined minerals and ore ?

No powers given, however, these agencies have to act within the ambit of their jurisdiction, sometimes it is not forth coming often leads to illegal mining and transportation.

Whether you perceive that delay in grant of approval of various State

and Central Agencies is leading to illegal mining activities? If so, identify the Agencies responsible delay in grants of various approvals.

No Sir

What rule you perceive from the Central Government to assist in prevention and control of illegal mining activities and transportation of illegally mined minerals?

1. Mining Plan should not be approved unless proper site inspection done.

2. GPS monitoring of production/transportation .

What action is being taken by your Government on the MCDR inspection carried out by Indian Bureau of Mines and Reports and violation letter endorsed by Indian Bureau of Mines?

Action will be initiated incase IBM informs that the lessees has not Complied/Rectified the violation within the stipulated period.

In how many cases, C.B.I enquiries or enquiries by State Intelligence Agency were conducted and what is the outcome ? Give case wise details in chronological order.

Nil