NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday decided to hear from September 17 a batch of petitions seeking lifting of ban on iron-ore mining in Goa which was halted last October on the basis of the report of the Justice M B Shah Commission.
The commission had estimated a whopping Rs 35,000 crore loss to the exchequer due to illegal mining in the last 12 years.
A special forest bench headed by Justice A K Patnaik will hear the case for three consecutive days from September 17 and if it fails to conclude, then it will resume from September 24.
Sesa Goa, other miners and a group representing employees of the iron ore mining industry, besides the state government have been seeking early hearing of the case.
Mining operations in all the 90 mines in Goa were ordered to be halted by the Supreme Court on October 5, 2012, on the basis of the Justice Shah’s report. Mining companies were also restrained from exporting and selling ore, which has already been extracted.
The bench had passed the order on a PIL filed by an NGO, Goa Foundation, seeking a probe into the illegal mining activities in the state. The state government had on September 10, 2012, temporarily suspended all mining operations till October 2012, but the petitioner had alleged that suspension did not affect the trade as the private companies were transporting ore from mines.