Deposit Rs 65L for polluting fields: HC to mining cos

Deposit Rs 65L for polluting fields: HC to mining cos

Bombay High Court. (PTI Photo)

The Goa bench of the Bombay High Court has directed three mining companies to deposit Rs 65 lakh each before the court to rehabilitate the agricultural land that was polluted due to mining.

Justice M S Sonak and Justice M S Jawalkar issued the interim order on Wednesday after the state's counsel argued that the mining companies were responsible for filling silt in the paddy field in Sirigao village of North Goa.

The court also directed the District Mineral Foundation (a corpus created by the Centre through the tax contribution by mining firms) to earmark Rs 2 crore for the purpose.

Vedanta Inc, Rajaram Bandekar (Siridao) Mines Private Limited and Chowgule & Company Private Limited are respondents in this petition.

"We direct the mining companies to deposit in this court Rs 65 lakh each, on or before the next date which shall be January, 27," the bench ruled.

If it is found that the mining companies are not responsible for this silt or are not responsible under the polluters pay principle, then the District Mineral Foundation will have to bear the entire expenditure, the bench observed.

The court also directed the state water resources department to take up the work of desilting the fields within 30 days.

During their arguments, the mining companies denied that they were responsible for polluting the field, as "for the last six to seven years, mining has stopped in Goa."

Advocate General D S Pangam pointed out that mining activities were carried out in the state from 2015 to 2018.