Goa’s mining scam at nearly Rs.35,000 crore

China prominently features in a probe report on illegal iron ore mining in Goa, which warns that while the eastern neighbour is gobbling up India’s iron ore reserves, the future might see a reversal of the trend.

Justice M.B. Shah Committee’s exhaustive report has pegged Goa’s mining scam at nearly Rs.35,000 crore.

“Planning and conservation of iron ore for at least 50 years is required for Goa so that future generation may not be required to import entire steel from China and likewise countries,” the report said.

It added that while India was exporting ore to China, China was exporting steel back to India.

It said China had strategically stopped short of tapping its deposits of 200 billion tonnes and the central government should take a cue and consider banning export of Indian ore.

“It would not be out of context to state here that though China is having reserve of more than 200 billion tonnes iron ore, it prefers to import iron ore from the countries like India and others. The Ministry of Mines, Steel, Commerce and Industries have to sit together to give serious thought for banning export or in the alternative to permit minimum export of iron ore from the country,” the report said.

It also recommended capping ore extraction to nearly one fifth of its present output.

“For conserving iron ore for 50 years, capping is must and its extraction should not exceed more than 12.5 million tonnes per year for quality grades,” the report said.

It said excessive mining would result in iron ore deposit depleting within a decade.

The report said mines in Goa were mostly in forests, eco-sensitive areas and water-bodies and a sudden increase in extraction had “resulted into degradation of environment, loss of biodiversity, adverse effects on agriculture, horticulture, groundwater level, pollution of air and water and ecosystem”.

All major mining companies in Goa, including Sesa Goa and companies run by mining families the Timblos and Salgaonkar Chowgules, have also been hauled up in the report. (IANS)

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