Comprehensive policy on mining likely to be announced by the end of May

Cracking down on illegal mining, the Department of Mines and Geology of Goa on Tuesday took a series of decisions, including the suspension of around 460 licences pending verification, and gave 15 days to all traders to submit documents.

The government planned to come out with a comprehensive policy by May-end, said the new Director of Mines and Geology, Prasanna Acharya, on Tuesday.

Mr. Acharya, who took over after the suspension of Arvind Loliyekar from the post, told reporters that the initiative was to identify bogus traders and update and streamline the licensing of the registered traders.

“We will direct ore traders to submit documents and after that licences would be restored. This process will be completed in 15 days. Genuine traders will not be affected by this exercise,” he said.

Simultaneously, by another decision, the department decided to regulate and control mindless transportation of ore across the mining belt by invoking the provisions of the Mining Rules.

Mr. Acharya said the department was exploring the possibility of proposing a moratorium on trucks till the existing transport operations were regulated.

“If the Transport Department wants to register new trucks for mining purposes then it will have to get a NoC (no-objection certificate) from the Mines Department before registering a vehicle,” he said.

The government held a meeting of the stakeholders through the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters' Association (GMOEA) on Monday and sought their cooperation. It was convened by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. Officials of the Department of Mines and Geology were present.

To weed out fake or unscrupulous traders, the government would renew the licences of those who had a legal tie-up with a mine owner or lease-holder.

All others, who were unable to show the source of the ore apart from their failure to produce documents listed by the department, would lose their licences, the mining industry representatives were told.

Not traced

During a verification conducted by the Mines Department under instructions from the Justice Shah Commission of Inquiry, 110 traders, many of whom had given addresses from outside the State, could not be traced.

The Commission pointed out that a majority of the traders were involved in illegal mining. It noted that some had furnished fake addresses and many did not give adequate documentation, thus making their existence and bona fides suspect.

The Mines Department, which relied on the export records compiled by the GMOEA, decided to get a software departmentally to compile its own records to reconcile the records of ore extraction with the exports, Mr. Acharya said.

Mr. Acharya clarified that traders were different from mine owners. The latter, who had export licences, would not be affected by the suspension of trading licences. Only those traders who did not have mining concessions would be hit by this move.

The government had also decided to inspect all the 90 working mines to check violations and identify dumps in some of the mines.

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