Goa mining scam: Shah probe to look at pre-Beijing Olympic demand boom

September 16th, 2011 - 4:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Sep 16 (IANS) A nine-member commission led by retired Supreme Court judge M.B. Shah will probe Goa’s mining scam with a special eye to illegal extraction of iron ore amid the sharp increase in demand before the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

A commission member said here Friday that Goa’s mining scenario changed in the run-up to the Olympics, given the building infrastructure needs of China, and iron ore export from Goa shot up from 18 million tonnes in 2000-2001 to 33 million tonnes in 2008.

“The commission will probe irregularities in the mining sector right from its inception,” commission member U.V. Singh said. “But special consideration will be given to events during the China boom, when iron ore was in great demand due to infrastructure needs.”

Shah is conducting field visits to mining sites that have been in controversy over illegal extraction.

Export of iron ore reached a high of 55 million tonnes last year, a three-fold increase in a decade, according to the Goa Mineral Ores Exporters Association.

The public accounts committee (PAC) of the Goa assembly has already indicated at a mining scam in the making by pointing out that 7.7 million tonnes of iron ore were not accounted for last year.

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