The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday directed a stop to all transportation of iron ore, for which royalty had been paid to the state government, by setting aside the Goa Chief Secretary's order allowing movement of royalty-paid iron ore lying outside the mining lease areas.
The mining activities in Goa have come to a standstill from March 16 as per the Supreme Court orders. The apex court, on February 7, had set aside the second renewals granted to 88 mining leases, which were granted time to manage their affairs till March 15.
Goa Foundation, on whose petition the SC had quashed the mining leases, had approached the high court against the state government's March 21 order allowing the transportation of ore.
The bench today set aside the order passed by state Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma allowing the movement and export of that ore lying outside the mining leases for which the royalty has been paid by the lease holders.
After the state government's order, a total 30,000 tonnes of ore lying outside the leases was transported till the end of April, the official website of the Directorate of Mines and Geology (DMG) of the Goa government said.
The HC today granted four weeks time to the state to decide on the ownership of the iron ore lying outside the leases across the state.
The petitioner has sought a declaration that all ore lying outside the mining lease areas and ore transported from March 16 belonged to the state and therefore cannot be a subject matter of commercial transaction or trade or transport by any person other than the state.
According to official statistics, nearly 30,000 tons of iron ore is lying dumped outside mining leases as of April-end.
On March 15 this year, the Supreme Court had banned all mining activity, including transportation of iron ore, from Goa's 88 mining leases.
Following the ban, the state government, through an order by Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma, had allowed the mining lease holders to transport iron ore from dumps which had accumulated outside the lease areas, after payment of due royalty to the state government.