The Apex Court, which vacated its October 5, 2012 interim order suspending all mining operations on the basis of the Justice MB Shah recommendations, passed a slew of directions for the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and Goa government for strictly regulating mining activities in the state till the expert panel, set up by it, submits its final report.
    
"Until the final report is submitted by the Expert Committee, the state government will, in the interests of sustainable development and inter-generational equity, permit a maximum annual excavation of 20 MT from the mining leases in Goa other than from dumps," a green-bench headed by Justice AK Patnaik said.
 
The bench, which held mining by the lessees after November 22, 2007 as "illegal" and "impermissible" the dumping of minerals outside the leased area, said the expert committee will also recommend within six months the manner in which the mining dumps have to be dealt with and within a year come out with the estimation for annual cap on excavation of iron ore.
    
"The Expert Committee will submit its report within six months from today on how the mining dumps in the state of Goa should be dealt with and will submit its final report within twelve months from today on the cap to be put on the annual excavation of iron ore in Goa," the bench, also comprising justices SS Nijjar and FMI Kalifulla, said.
    
It categorically said, "There can be no mining activities within one kilometre from the boundaries of National Parks and Sanctuaries in Goa."
    
Among other directions, the bench said MoEF will issue the notification of eco-sensitive zones around the National Park and Wildlife Sanctuaries of Goa within six months and state government will initiate action against those mining lessees violating the Mineral Concession Rules.

(Agencies)

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