GOA FOUNDATION OBJECTS TO CHARADE OF CONTINUING MINERAL AUCTIONS/SAYS PRESENT AUCTIONS OUTSIDE AMBIT OF SUPREME COURT’S ORDERS AND SOURCE OF CORRUPTION
The Goa Foundation has objected to the 29th (and further) e-auction of old mineral stacks in the state, conducted between 11th-13th October. It has requested the DMG not to go ahead with issue of any transport permits for the auctioned items. The state has proposed to auction 1.12 million tonnes of ore valued (base price) at Rs.121 crores.
The Supreme Court of India had been informed in 2014 that the total quantities of mineral ore confiscated by its judgment and inventoried by the Monitoring Committee was approximately 16.8 million tonnes. This was stacked at different leases and other locations, including jetties. However, it is on record that this inventory was never verified and was based solely on self-declaration made by the former leaseholders to the state government.
On 28th March 2023, in response to an unstarred question No.036 asked by Adv. Carlos Alvares Fereira, the Goa Assembly was informed that of the total quantity of 16.8 mt, there was still a balance of 1 mt to be e-auctioned. However, the assembly was also informed that nearly 1 mt of ore that was not disclosed to the Monitoring Committee had also been e-auctioned.
According to the Goa Foundation, the e-auction of this 1 million tonnes has been conducted without the approval of the Monitoring Committee and without the knowledge and consent of the Supreme Court.
During a perusal of the 29th e-auction list of ores, it was found that at least 3 consignments belonging to Vedanta and Damodar Mangalji have been included when they are not in the list of ore quantities given to the Monitoring Committee. It appears that this material is most likely the result of illegal mining or dump mining. The total quantities that are part of these 3 items work out to 43 lakh tonnes valued at Rs.70 crores (of the 121 crores).
The Supreme Court has already held that any dump mining in the state will take place only in line with its order dated 13.12.2022, after complying with all the recommendations of the expert committee. Dump mining would require therefore detailed analysis of material in the dump, and an environment clearance. The Goa Foundation has also insisted that since dump mining falls within the definition of “mining operations”, prior lease order must be issued.
The Foundation has already drawn the attention of the state government to these issues when the Goa Government first announced it was issuing a dump policy. Though the Foundation had requested the government to notify the policy first for objections, as usual the government has gone ahead and notified a policy which is contrary to public interest. The policy has been drafted to assist former lease holders to accumulate more illegal wealth.
The 29th auction lacks transparency and stinks of corruption. Auction and lifting of any ore stacks that do not fall within the ambit of 16.8 mt cannot be carried out without explicit order of the Supreme Court. As of now the state government has already crossed that figure and therefore any e-auction conducted of such materials would be contrary to the orders of the apex court.
Letter dated 30.8.2023 asking for proposed dump policy to be notified for public objections
Letter dated 10.10.2023 pointing out dump handling requires a mining lease
Letter dated 12.10.2023 objecting to the 29th auction