Goa govt to submit iron data

Panaji: Armed with a report prepared by former Karnataka Lokayukta on illegal mining, Union Ministry of Mines has asked the Goa government to furnish data on the allegations that the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) used to export iron ore even as the neighbouring state had banned the activity.

The officials in the State Mines and Geology Department told that the Union ministry in a recent meeting in Delhi asked the Goa government `to furnish details on the Karnataka ore exported through the state during the last five years`. The Union ministry has also asked the state officials to produce data on the quantum of Karnataka ore allegedly used for blending the local low-grade ore during the last five years.

State Mines and Geology department will have to submit the data from year 2005, when demand in the Chinese market boosted the iron ore exports, till year 2011 when the mining scam came to the light.
Former Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde, who had blown the lid off the scam, claimed that 45 lakh tons of high grade ore was exported through Goa`s Mormugao Port Trust (MPT).

The investigations pointed out that the ore was brought from Karnataka in the guise of blending it with local low-grade ore, which is non-consumable by the steel industry, and in fact exported through the port even as Karnataka had banned the exports.

The Lokayukta report also questioned the export of high grade ore, as higher as 64 degree Fe from Goa port, when the state does not have such a kind of ore. Justice Santosh Hegde had told PTI that the local authorities were involved in the illegalities.

The Ministry of Mines which had taken up the matter seriously also decided to ask the Railways Ministry to give details of the ore brought through waggons from Karnataka to Goa. "Indian Bureau of mines (IBM) would record the data," the officials added.