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Goa illegal mining: Parrikar attends Shah panel

Panaji: Leader of Opposition in Goa Assembly Manohar Parrikar today met the Central government-appointed Shah Commission team and submitted them documents detailing the modus operandi of illegal mining operators in the state. Parrikar apprised the probe panel`s senior member U V Singh about the different methods employed by the mining lobby including purchase of challans from non-operating leases to illegally export extracted ore.

Emerging from an half-an-hour meeting with Singh, Parrikar said some traders or exporters buy challans from non operating mines and later channelise the illegally extracted ore through these challans. The BJP leader said that the excess capacity ore tapped in various mining leases in violation of Environment Clearance (EC) limits is exported through such challans.

He alleged that such illegalities of issuing challans can be done only in connivance with the State Mines and Geology department.

"Its the duty of the Mines department to verify whether the challans which are issuing is from working mine or abandoned one," he said.

Parrikar, who headed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), probing into the mining activity in the state, said of the total ore exported during last 4-5 years, almost 30 per cent is illegally extracted. He said that Goa government`s practice of asking for NOCs from the Mines department before ore consignment leaves the shore, can bring in revenue for the state coffers but certainly won`t help in curbing the illegal trade of ore.

The Shah Commission has been investigating into the illegal iron ore scam in the state, which is pegged somewhere between Rs 1200-10,000 crore by different agencies.

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