No Bar on Illegal Miners as Goa Set to Resume Mining – by Ayaskant Das (News Click – August 15, 2021)

Less than seven months before the Goa Assembly elections in February 2022, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government has paved the way for the formation of a state-owned mineral development corporation which will have the right to grant mining leases to any entity.

The Goa Mineral Development Corporation Bill, 2021, was passed amidst an Opposition walkout on July 31. The Pramod Sawant government passed the Bill following a July order of the Supreme Court that had dismissed the review petitions of the Goa government and Vedanta Limited against its February 2018 order that had ruled against the state’s decision to renew 88 mining leases.

The Bill doesn’t bar miners whose leases were cancelled by the SC for illegal iron ore mining from bidding.

“The Corporation shall be entitled to enter into any contracts, agreements, memorandum of understandings, etc. for engaging entities for the purpose of carrying out mining operations as it may consider necessary or expedient or any other business connected therewith in accordance with this Act,” according to Section 15 (4) of the Bill.

“There is no clause to prevent the corporation from awarding contracts to the very same miners whose leases had been cancelled by the Supreme Court after being identified by the Justice MB Shah Commission of Enquiry for carrying out large-scale illegal iron ore mining in Goa,” Rebbapragada Ravi, chairperson of mines, minerals & PEOPLE (mm&P), an alliance of individuals, institutions and communities affected by mining, told Newsclick.

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