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Bombay High court orders Goa government to execute 28 mining leases in 3 months

Thursday, 14 August 2014 - 7:25am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Goa iron ore miners have reason to rejoice as the Bombay High court on Wednesday ordered the state government to execute 28 mining leases where the stamp duty had been collected. 

An industry source said that these 28 leases include mining leases of Sesa Sterlite, Fomento Resources and VM Salgaocar.

On June 28, dna had reported quoting Ambar Timblo, managing director of Fomento Resources, that despite collecting around Rs 400 crore as stamp duty the Goa government had not renewed 28 leases.

Several mining companies had filed writ petitions before the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court for renewal of their respective mining leases as they had applied for renewal on time. These companies had paid stamp duty worth of Rs 376 crore much before the Supreme Court judgement which had raised question mark on the non-renewed leases in April. 

The mining companies had argued before the High Court that they were being punished unnecessarily as they had filed their renewal applications on time. 

The matter was heard by the High Court in last few months and on Wednesday, the judgment was pronounced by the Bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice U V Bakre.

“State of Goa is directed to 72 execute the lease deeds under Section 8(3) of the MMDR Act (Mines and minerals (development and regulation)] Act, 1957) in favour of the petitioners/lease holders who/which have already paid the stamp duty pursuant to the orders of the government,” the order said.

“For this (Implementation of this order), the Supreme Court order in WP 435/2012 (Goa Foundation Vs Union of India and Others of April 21, 2014) will not be an impediment,” the Bench said.

Iron ore mining in Goa has remained shut since past two years. Mining activities have not started in the state even after the apex court lifted the ban in April and put a cap of 20 million tonne annual production. The court order had ruled that all mining leases in Goa expired in 2007 and mining activity carried out post (deemed second renewal) were to be considered illegal.

Following the Supreme Court order, Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar had said that the government will come out with a fresh policy by June for granting new mining leases.

On being contacted, Goa Mineral Ore Exporters’ Association executive director S Sridhar and secretary Glen Klavampara both declined to comment as they had not seen the Bombay High Court order yet.

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