Goa NGOs write to Centre; seek action on illegal mining

Panaji, Nov 26 (IANS): Two days after Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced imminent auctioning of "seven to eight" mining blocks in Goa, several green NGOs have written to the Central government, to blacklist mining companies linked to illegal mining and have violated other central government economic laws from participating in the auction.

"Misappropriation of the shared inheritance of mineral wealth, anyone convicted for illegal mining should be disqualified under a variety of laws, including the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 and The Economic Offences (Inapplicability of Limitation) Act, 1974," Goa-based NGOs, namely Goa Foundation, Common Cause, Mineral Inheritors Rights' Association among others, have pleaded in their letter to the Union Minister for Mines Prahlad Joshi and the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The letter has also said that companies involved in illegal mining should be blacklisted and not be allowed to participate in any mining related activity.

"With the rise of illegal miners in the country, there are no adequate mechanisms to hold them accountable and undertake stringent actions such as blacklisting them from any mining activity.

"Any violation whether it is economic, environmental, or social by the entity must be a good enough reason to disqualify the miners on the basis of questionable integrity and they should be prevented from managing our shared inheritance of mineral wealth," the letter said.

On Wednesday, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had said that national banker State Bank of India had been roped in to facilitate the auction of "six to eight" iron ore mining blocks by December 15.

The decision comes at a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government in the state has been criticised for belated efforts to restart the mining industry ahead of Athe state assembly polls, which are scheduled to be held in early 2022.

Sawant had also said that the Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited, a Central government concern had been appointed for exploration of the nearly 90 mining leases in the state for mineral prospects.

The auctioning of the iron ore mineral blocks will be carried out under the aegis of the newly formed Goa Mineral Development Corporation.

The Corporation was formed by the Goa government earlier this year, with the Chief Minister as the ex-officio chairman and will have top officials including Secretaries in-charge of Finance, Mines and Environment as members.

The Corporation will also include a lawyer nominated by the state government, two experienced chartered accountants and a government nominated geologist.



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Title: Goa NGOs write to Centre; seek action on illegal mining

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