Iron ore extraction worth Rs 1900 crore done illegally in Goa: CAG

The CAG has pointed out that an overall Rs 1,900 crore worth illegal extraction of iron ore was reported in the state between 2009 and 2016 in violation of the mining plan and environment clearances.

Published: 07th August 2017 08:02 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th August 2017 08:02 PM   |  A+A-

Image for representational purpose only. (File photo | Reuters)

By PTI

PANAJI: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report has pointed out that an overall Rs 1,900 crore worth illegal extraction of iron ore was reported in the state between 2009 and 2016 in violation of the mining plan and environment clearances (ECs).     

The performance audit on systems and controls in collection of minerals receipts has revealed a number of system and compliance deficiencies, the CAG report which was tabled on the floor of the House today mentioned.     

"We observed violation of the provision of the Acts and Rules made for regulation of mining operation in the State.     

Violating the provisions of the MCD (Mineral Conservation and Development) rules and MC (Mineral Concession) rules the lessees had extracted minerals valued Rs 1,529.64 crore in excess of the mining plan," the report said. "The lessee had also extracted minerals valued Rs 374.99 crore in excess of quantity allowed under environment clearances," it added.     

CAG has said the audit team checked 38 cases to ascertain whether the environment clearances limit has been observed by lessee during the period from 2009-16.     

"We observed in five cases, the lessee had extracted 30.02 lakh metric tonnes of iron ore valued at Rs 374.99 crore in excess of the limit. No reason for extraction of iron ore in excess to environment clearance limit was found," he said.     

"In respect of seven leases the quantity as per the approved mining plan was 25.94 lakh MT during the period 2009-13 against this the quantity actually extracted during the period was 98.35 lakh MT. This resulted in unauthorised extraction of 72.41 MT of iron ore valued at Rs 1,529.64 crore," the CAG has pointed out.     

The mining industry in Goa had faced ban due to Supreme Court order in September 2012, which was later lifted in April 2014. The actual extraction of iron ore began only in November 2015.     

The CAG report which audits various departments and their performance till March 2016 has castigated State Directorate of Mines and Geology (DMG) for not taking action to recover the penalties under MMDR Act, 1957 for excess extraction over the limits.     

"The DMG failed to monitor unauthorised extraction, transportation and storage of minerals effectively. Due to poor monitoring, the short declaration of 27.7 lakh MT iron ore valued Rs 118.01 crore extracted by lease holders was not detected by it," CAG has said.     

The audit report also states that the DMG failed to detect the suppression of closing stock iron ore which resulted in short collection of royalty of Rs 35.53 crore.     

"There was lack of internal control within the department to ascertain the lawful dispatch of minerals, independent assessment of grades of ore, internal audit of department and timely assessment of royalty dues.     

These results in short recovery of royalty to the tune of Rs 19.78 crore," the CAG has said.     

"Short collection of stamp duty by the DMG and consequent short collection of registration fee by registration authorities totaling Rs 159.70 crore was also noticed," it adds. "There was a lack of coordination between DMG, Indian Bureau of Mines and Ministry of Environment and Forest in regulating the mining operations in the state," CAG has said.     

"Coupled with inadequate system of monitoring and poor internal control mechanism the regulation of mining in the state was hampered. It would be in the interest of the state's revenue, if corrective steps are taken timely to rectify the defects pointed out by the audit," it added. 

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