Illegal mining: Goa emerging as second Bellary?

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Panaji, Sep 25: The current question that has been hitting the minds of the nation's population, " Is Goa emerging as the next Bellary involving the issue of illegal mining?". This question is quite obvious amongst the population since Rs 8000-crore iron-ore mining scam has put the Goa State Government under scanner.

But, this is not the end of the story. Moreover, the Environmentalists and the Opposition have alleged that Chief Minister Digambar Kamat turned a blind eye to virtual iron ore loot in the state running into a whopping Rs 8,000 crore.

"It is exactly similar to Bellary's situation. The Chief Minster is involved as he is the minister of mines also for last 11 years. The friends of the CM are involved because it is only happening on friendship bases and the forest department is involved, department of mines is involved," said Claud Alvares, an activist.

The list of corruption includes the name of 48 of the 92 mining companies that have violated norms and over 90 lakh tonnes worth several hundred crore has been illegally mined in the last four years alone. Few such examples are:

Environmental clearance limit for the Vedanta-owned Sesa Goa Ltd's three mines was two lakh tonnes annually. However, in 2006, it extracted 8 lakh tonnes.

Environmental clearance limit for VM Salgaocar & Brothers Pvt Ltd's four mines was 16.92 lakh tonnes annually, but since 2006, it extracted 26.92 lakh tonnes.

Another company, VS Dempo, had permission to extract 11 lakh tonnes from its three mines, but it extracted over 20 lakh tonnes in 2008.

The Mineral Ore Exporters Association also claimed that most of the exporters were not even registered, but the government did nothing.

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