Panaji: Of the 85 licensed laterite, basalt and minor mineral quarries in the state, about 72 quarry leaseholders have submitted the quarrying plans for approval, revealed the directorate of mines and geology (DMG), on Tuesday.
Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’, Ashutosh Apte, director of DMG, said that the process for approving the quarrying plans has started, after which leaseholders will be allowed to commence operations.
Apte said that the department is making serious efforts to crack down on encroachments outside the quarrying area by lease holders.
Approval for a quarrying plan is only after hearing and site visit by inspectors, he said.
On January 3, the DMG had halted all quarrying operations in the state and asked leaseholders to submit their quarrying plan so as to comply with Rule 7 (2) of the Goa Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1985. Leaseholders were given deadline of 15 days to comply with the order.
The DMG order was in response to December 4 2019 judgment passed by the High Court of Bombay in Goa on PIL filed under WP 15/ 2019 and WP 84/ 2019 wherein the petitioners had pointed out that large scale
quarrying operations are undertaken by cutting hills in areas demarcated as no development slopes or ecological
Further the quarrying is in the absence of a quarrying plan, the petitioners had stated.
Responding to the petitioners, the court had ordered the government to grant or renew quarry leases only after the necessary approvals as well as environmental clearance.
The judgment order said that, quarrying plan must be submitted within 60 days of granting the lease and also stipulated the period within which the quarrying plan is approved or rejected.
The state which previously had over 500 mining quarries of laterite, basalt, murrum, rubble, etc, presently has a total of 85 licensed quarries, of which 72 are for basalt and 13 are laterite quarries, according to officials from the DMG.
Consumption of quarry material is by the local construction industry.