Vedanta Resources mines operated illegally in Goa: minister

In a written reply to a query from an opposition legislator in the state assembly Wednesday, Rodrigues said the forest department had noticed 17 instances of illegal mining in the last three years in Goa's forested areas.

According to the written reply, three separate complaints were filed against officials of Dempo mining corporation and Sesa Goa Ltd for illegal mining in forest areas in  Bicholim and Sanguem sub-districts in north and south Goa respectively.

In two other instances, the forest department also warned officials of V.S. Dempo & Company against using forest land for transportation of ore and ferrying of trucks, the reply stated.

Dempo mining corporation, V.S. Dempo and Company and Sesa Goa Ltd were acquired by  billionaire Anil Agarwal-owned Vedanata Resources in the recent past, making the latter the biggest player in Goa's mining industry that exports nearly 45 million tonnes of iron and manganese ore annually.

Illegal and unchecked mining is a sensitive issue in Goa, with both civil society groups and the opposition repeatedly voicing their concern over the issue.

According to data submitted in the monsoon session of the Goa assembly, ore worth Rs.4,000 crore was illegally mined and exported out of Goa to countries like China, Japan and Romania.

According to Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar, nearly 18 percent of Goa's total 40 million mining output comprises illegally-mined ore.

He has also accused Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and several of his cabinet ministers of being hand-in-glove with the illegal mining mafia.

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