The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the transportation of iron ore that has already been extracted from mines in Goa, PTI reported. In 2018, the top court had quashed the second renewal of mining leases given to 88 companies in the state in 2015. The companies were directed to stop all mining operations with effect from March 16 that year. The judgement had an impact on the state’s iron ore mining industry, and also affected many workers.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde delivered the judgment on a plea by mining firm Chowgule and Company Private Limited. The top court had in 2018 banned mining and transportation of iron ore in Goa. On Thursday, it ordered the petitioner to transport the iron ore within a period of six months, provided it has paid royalty to the state authorities and has a valid licence.
On Wednesday, a report in The Times of India quoted the Goa Livelihoods Forum, which released its Livelihoods Report 2020. The forum said that the closure of mining has led to severe unemployment and devastated families economically. It added that revenues worth Rs 3,400 crore have been impacted, and investment in the state has taken a hit. Other industries dependent on mining have also been negatively impacted by the closure of mining, the report said.
“Not confined to only the mining talukas, income and savings have been severely hit, exceeding well over 40% in most of the cases,” the forum said. “The stoppage of mining in the state has not only caused revenue damage and job loss within the state, but has also led to major loss of investor confidence, which would have a long term effect on Goa’s economy.
The forum report added that unemployment in rural areas is known to induce substance abuse. It said the Supreme Court’s decision to ban mining has affected at least 60,000 households and three lakh livelihoods. “The ban has stopped potentially 20 million tonne of iron ore exports,” the report said. “It has disrupted an entire ecosystem of downstream, upstream and allied industries.”