Vedanta Limited and Dattaraj Velingkar had approached Board for amendment in the existing Consent to Operate granted under Air and Water Act; DMG has redistributed the extraction limit among operational mines to achieve the 20 million tonnes cap before March 15; At present, only 9 million tonnes of iron ore extracted in the state
PANJIM: In a major setback to the Directorate of Mines and Geology (DMG), which had redistributed the iron ore extraction limit amongst the operational mines, the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has declined to amend or grant any Consent to Operate to the mining units in the wake of Supreme Court judgment that has quashed second renewals of 88 mining leases.
DMG has redistributed the extraction limit among operational mines to achieve the 20 million tonnes cap before March 15. At present, only 9 million tonnes of iron ore have been extracted in the state.
The DMG in a letter to GSPCB on March 1 had said that the Supreme Court has allowed to continue mining operations till March 15 as such there is no impediment for carrying out any mining activity upto the maximum capped quantity of 20 million tonnes, out of which not even half the quantity has been exhausted.
Based on the letter, the mining firms such as Vedanta Limited and Dattaraj Velingkar had approached Board for amendment in the existing Consent to Operate granted under Air and Water Act.
While redistributing the ore quota, the department had made it mandatory for the lease holders to approach Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) and GSPCB for necessary modification in the mining plan and grant of consent.
However, the GSPCB, via a letter dated March 5 has declined the proposal of DMG and the two mining firms. “The Supreme Court of India judgment has been legally examined by the Board,” GSPCB Member Secretary Levinson Martins said.
“And in this regard, it is concluded that in light of the findings and directions as contained in the aforestated judgment dated February 7, passed by the Honourable Supreme Court of India and in light of the second renewal of mining leases being quashed by virtue of the said judgment, the Board as on this date will not consider granting any consent or amending any consent to operate in respect of any mining unit, under the Water Act and Air Act,” Martins added.
The Board has sought legal opinion from the senior counsel Atmaram Nadkarni seeking whether in the wake of Supreme Court judgment, can it consider grant of renewal of consent to operate under the Water Act and Air Act or grant of amendment to earlier granted consent to operate for the enhancement of the consented extraction limit.