NGO plaint alleges Canadian firm-Goa CM nexus in mining

NGO plaint alleges Canadian firm-Goa CM nexus in mining

Chief minister renewed lease 20 years after it lapsed

A division bench with Justices A P Lawande and U Bakhre issued notice on Monday to Magnum Minerals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Terra Nova Royalty Corporation registered in British Columbia, Canada and Ajit Kadnekar, owner of the Goa mine.

The petition filed by NGO Goa Foundation reveals that Goa’s department of mines was aware that the Kadnekar mine was being operated by a raising contractor in violation of the law. But no action was taken in the case, and the department remained blissfully unaware that the contractor was actually a foreign subsidiary.

The case also brings to light the role played by the chief minister in reviving a lease that had expired 20 years ago, in contravention of the rules.

“It appears that in the year 2000, Ajit Kadnekar (the owner of the mine) made a belated renewal application dated June 27, 2000 which was flatly rejected by the department of mines. However, another six years down the line, when mining profits had begun to climb fresh peaks, a fresh letter dated September 12, 2006 was purportedly addressed by Kadnekar to the department giving some explanation for the delay. By an order dated October 31, 2006, the government through the minister of mines (the portfolio is held by the chief minister) condoned the delay in the filing of the application (which ought to have been filed almost 20 years earlier),” the petition says.

It points out that the Goa government does not have the powers to condone the delay in filing for renewal of a lease. The Union Ministry of Environment & Forests too quickly approved environment clearances without making any enquiries into the validity of the lease.

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