'Lakhs of tonnes of iron ore transported illegally to Goa'

U V Singh report suspects involvement of 40 companies

About 40 mining companies are suspected to have transported iron ore in excess of the permitted quantity to these ports between 2006-07 and 2010-11.

The investigation team found the discrepancies after verifying records of transportation of iron ore to Tinaighat and Soverdem, the two major railway destinations.

The records show the name of the consignor, the consignee, the month of transportation and the quantity transported.

The consignor-wise comparison was also done for the period between 2006-07 and 2010-11. Prominent among the companies that may have transported iron ore in excess include MSPL, Sesa Goa, Deccan Mining Syndicate, VS Lad and Essar Steel.

“Such large discrepancy indicates that a substantial portion of this quantity may have been transported illicitly. This requires further investigation… Action may be taken to recover the cost of the material with exemplary penalty from the consignors after following due process of law,” the report states.

Murmagoa and Panaji are the two important ports through which iron ore is exported in large quantity, and substantial portion of this iron ore is sourced from Karnataka. However, the investigation team was not able to ascertain the exact quantity of iron ore exported from the State through these ports as in most cases Karnataka origin iron ore is blended with Goa origin iron ore to improve its “Fe” content.

Besides, the shipping bills of Murmagoa were both in manual and electronic forms, and a large part of manual shipping bills were not available.  Moreover, figures of export of iron ore of Karnataka origin as depicted in shipping bill data of both the ports were grossly underreported.

Hence, the customs data provided could not be used for comparison as it does not accurately reflect the quantum of iron ore of Karnataka origin exported from Goa, the report said.

The team further stated that the permits issued by Department of Mines and Geology does not clearly distinguish between domestic and export destinations.  Therefore, it was not possible to determine the quantity of iron ore for which permits were issued. The department permits also do not indicate the mode of transport, but iron ore from Karnataka is transported to Goa ports mainly through railways.

* Discrepancies in transportation of nearly 45,59,369 metric tonnes of iron ore through railways found

* Some of the prominent mining companies are suspected to have transported iron ore in excess to the permit

* Exact quantity of Karnataka origin iron ore exported from Goa ports could not be ascertained due to non-availability of details.

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