Goa ore exporters do not want CBI to probe illegal mining

October 4th, 2011 - 5:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Oct 4 (IANS) Ore exporters in Goa do not want a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into Goa’s mega mining scam, even as their spokesperson admitted that some exporters could be exporting ore without the mandatory environment clearances (EC).

Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA) spokesperson Shivavand Salgaonkar also admitted that ore was being illegally mined in the state, but claimed it was the government’s responsibility to track down the culprits.

“It might be that some people in the association (GMOEA) are exporting ore without environmental clearances,” said Salgaonkar, who is also a leading mining operator in the state.

Illegal mining in Goa is under spotlight with a legislative committee as well as the Justice M.B. Shah commission probing the thriving illegal mining trade in Goa, which has been pegged by a ruling Congress legislator at Rs.10,000 crore approximately.

The Shah Commission is expected to report to the central government by mid-November. However, the Goa legislative assembly’s public accounts committee’s (PAC) report is expected Wednesday.

The PAC reportedly estimates the scam to be to the order of Rs.3,500 crore, considerably lower than the Congress legislator’s claim.

PAC sources further said that nearly 7 million tonnes out of the 54 million tonnes exported out of Goa were illegal and were sourced through fly-by-night ore traders, who purchased and exported iron ore without the mandatory EC consent, required to export the same.

Salgaonkar also admitted to illegal mining in Goa, which was spurred by the China inspired mining boom, but also said that the GMOEA was not in favour of a CBI probe into Goa’s illegal mining scam.

“No, we do not want a CBI probe,” Salgaonkar said.

Out of the 54.45 million tonnes of iron ore exported out of Goa annually, the GMOEA, with nearly 30-odd members, exports nearly 47.23 million tonnes of ore annually, while the rest 7.22 million tonnes is dubiously sourced.

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