The Goa Mines and Geology Department on Tuesday filed an affidavit in the Bombay High Court in Goa on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) over illegal mining, stating that there was no ore coming to Goa from Karnataka for over 18 months.

The PIL was filed by Goa Foundation, a local environment NGO. The government affidavit admitted that some ore was entering Goa from Maharashtra. The royalty on this mineral ore was payable only once and that was at the site of extraction. Therefore, the Goa government did not collect any royalty on this ore but the Transport Department collected transport cess on this mineral.

Entry check

To monitor the entry of this ore in Goa, the government was considering setting up an entry check. Setting up of RFID system might not be possible as the ore transporting truck was required to be registered and should have a monitoring unit. Such registration could not be imposed on trucks coming from outside the States, said the Department of Mines and submitted that the government was thinking of setting up an entry checkpoint manned by its officials, who would verify that the mineral cargo was accompanied by transit pass or geological permit, as the case might be, issued by the Directorate of Mines and Geology from the States of origin.

Evasion of duty

On the issue of evasion of duty raised in the PIL, the affidavit filed by Director of Mines Arvind Loliyekar stated that mining in Goa had been going on for over six decades, was well-organised and the exports data indicated that evasion of royalty on mineral ores was minimal.

The issue of Karnataka ore in the context of the ongoing controversy over Goa's illegal mining assumed significance as the report of the Karnataka Lokayukta on illegal mining, which forced B.S. Yeddyurappa to resign as Chief Minister, has made specific mention of high grade Karnataka ore having made its way to Goa in huge quantities in the recent years in the name of local use but had been exported through Goan ports.

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