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Panaji: The Bombay High Court at Goa on Friday set aside the State Government’s illegitimate order dated March 21 allowing transportation of iron ore from outside the lease areas post March 15. However, at the same time, it has severely criticized Government for completely ignoring the sufferings of the villagers from the mining belt.
“ These mining villages have suffered severe air pollution due to mining , the natural streams have been polluted and dried up and many do not have water to drink,” the Division Bench said in the judgment while referring to the series of petitions they are hearing related to the plight of the people from mining belts.
“ In these petition, there was absolute lack of any response from the State. At first there were simple denials that problem is not serious. This sharp contrast in the State response in respect of these two ends of mining spectrum, the Mining Affected and the Mining Beneficiaries, is too stark for us not to notice,” the Court said.
“We write it here because it pains our conscience,” the Court said in the judgment passed in a petition related to the iron ore transportation.
The Division Bench recalled how it had to pass series of orders over a period four months just to ensure that the State takes steps to provide drinking water to these villages. “We had to literally push the State on every date to do something to alleviate the suffering of the innocent mining affected,” it said.
Court found that 180 Crores were collected by the State of Goa in last two years in District Mineral Fund for the mining affected, but not even single rupee was spent . The District Mineral Foundations was also established after Court passed the orders and their first meeting was held just last month.
Court said that the State should have considerations for the people of Goa and its fragile ecology and not for the mining lease holders alone. “The health of the average Goan should be a priority. The State should not be satisfied only with some crumbs in the form of royalty to give up larger claims in favour of mining lease holders,” it noted.