Shah panel explores possibility of ban on iron ore export

Shah panel explores possibility of ban on iron ore export

Justice R A Mehta, a senior member of the commission, told PTI, "Banning export (of iron ore) is one of the options being considered to curb illegalities in the trade."

Justice M B Shah, heading the commission, had earlier said ban on iron ore export could be recommended as an interim measure. The statement had triggered panic among the people dependent on mining, who sought protection to legal mining.

The panel has begun re-inspection of the mines after the first round pointed out several anomalies by mining lease operators.

"It's premature to say whether there are illegalities in the mining trade in Goa. At this stage, we can't say if there is a scam or not...the commission is in the process of collecting data, which would be compiled to form the final report," Mehta said.

From Monday, the panel members have begun visiting all the 90-odd operating and 32 non-functional mining leases in the state.

During its first round of inspections, the commission had found nearly all the mines encroaching upon the adjoining areas, sources said.

"We can say almost 90 per cent of the mining leases have some or other violations," a senior commission member said.

Mehta said though no specific time frame has been put as far as the mining probe in Goa is concerned, the entire inquiry into illegal mining trade in the coastal state, Orissa, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh would be completed by March 2012.

Goa's mining industry is wading through crisis as illegal mining trade has taken over the legal business. According to rough estimates, there is an illegal mining of Rs 1,200 crore to Rs 10,000 crore in the state.

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