log on to thegoan.net @thegoaneveryday THURSDAY APRIL 27, 2023 GOA 13 pages Facebook.com/thegoaneveryday The Goan (Playstore) PRICE ` 8 PANAJI MARGAO GOA VOLUME VIII, NO.309 Instagram.com/thegoaneveryday RNI: GOAENG/2015/65729 3 2 9 FRESH ENVIRONMENTAL CLEARANCES NEEDED FOR MINING BLOCKS: HC GOA PWD officials ‘locked’ for 2 hours in Canacona office over bad roads Kabrastan plan at Sonsodo hits deadlock INFO Amazing benefits of sunflower oil for skin SPORTS Asia Badminton C’ship: Sindhu leads Indians into pre-quarters ORDERS DELETION OF CLAUSE IN TENDER CLAIMING FRESH ECs WON’T BE NECESSARY THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI The Bombay High Court has nixed a clause in the State government’s notice inviting tender for Block VI of the ongoing auction of Goa’s iron ore mining blocks, which sought to assure potential bidders that Section 8B of the MMDR Act shall apply to Block VI, implying that successful auction bidders would not be required to obtain a fresh EC for commencing mining operations for this Block. The petitioners Sociedade de Fomento Industrial approached the High Court seeking an order to “forthwith delete the words ‘section 8B of the MMDR Act shall be applicable to these blocks’ appearing under caption List of Mineral Blocks for auction in the NIT (Notice Inviting Tender) as well as at the appropriate places in the tender document…” The High Court allowed the petition and ruled that the successful bidders for Goa’s iron ore mining blocks will have to obtain fresh environmental clearances and any assurances by the state government that the mining blocks can revive the old envi- K E Y O B SE R VAT I O N S O F H I G H CO U RT SC in clear and unambiguous terms held that fresh ECs were a must for mining leases in Goa This reiteration was based not only upon the explicit direction in GF-I but also material in the form of Justice Shah report, EAC report, and report of the expert committee Contention that Section 8B of MMDR Act, 1957 or the EIA Notification virtually does away with and nullifies all these clear and specific findings and directions of the court cannot be accepted HC pointed that conscious decision of SC cannot be bypassed by regarding the ECs which were explicitly cancelled by the MoEF as valid only to grant new lessees/successful auction bidders the benefit of Section 8B of the MMDR Act, 1957 This, according to us, would not be a proper mode of construing provisions of Section 8B of the MMDR Act, 1957 Based upon strained construction suggested by the State of Goa, express directions of the SC judgements cannot be nullified or ignored ronmental clearances will not stand. The Parliament, by MMDR (Amendment) Act 2021, which entered into force on 28.03.2021, substituted the amended Section 8B by removing the validity period of two years regarding valid approvals, rights, clearances, and licences. The substituted Section 8B transferred and vested in the new lessee the valid approvals, rights, clearances and licences. As a result, new lessees could operate mining leases based on valid approvals, rights, clearances, and licences granted to former lessees. The State government contended that Section 8B would allow the present leases to benefit from the transfer of environmental clearance and as such would not require a fresh environmental clearance. “New lessees could operate mining leases based on valid approvals, rights, clearances, and licences granted to former lessees,” the State government claimed before the Court. However, the High Court found no merit in the argu- ment and agreed with the petitioner as well as the Goa Foundation who intervened in the case arguing that Section 8B of the MMDR applies only to the valid ECs concerning the mining leases whose terms may have expired but not to ECs expressly cancelled by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) based on the judicial orders. In Goa’s case the Environmental Clearances were struck down by the Courts and could not have been said to have been valid. “If the State Government’s interpretation is to be accepted, then the ECs issued in 2007, based upon which the mining industry in the State of Goa virtually caused havoc by rapacious and rampant exploitation regardless of any concern for environment, health and well-being of the citizens, would have to be revived and transferred to the new lessees/successful bidders” and that the “impact of rapacious and rampant exploitation, including several severe environmental violations by the mining industry between 2007 and 2012, would have to be ignored,” the High Court bench of Justices M S Sonak and Valmiki Sa Menez- es, ruled. “The Supreme Court, in clear and unambiguous terms, held that fresh ECs were a must for mining leases in the State of Goa affected by the decision in GF-I and GF-II. This reiteration was based not only upon the explicit direction in GF-I but also material in the form of the Justice Shah Commission report, report of EAC, and report of the expert committee constituted by the Court. This direction was also based upon the Supreme Court taking a broad view that large-scale mining of iron ore led to several adverse impacts, including those related to the environment, ecology and health of the people of Goa and that almost all committed these illegalities and irregularities (if not all) mining lease holders as reported by the EAC,” the High Court also said. “To now say that Section 8B of MMDR Act, 1957 or the EIA Notification of 13.07.2021 virtually does away with and nullifies all these clear and specific findings and directions of the court is a contention that cannot be accepted. Neither do the provisions >Continued on P6 >Continued on P5 13 Finally, Goa to host Nat Games in Oct, Modi to inaugurate PT Usha-led IOA ‘happy’ with all preparations in Goa THE GOAN I NETWORK PANAJI After a delay of more than a decade, Goa is finally set to host the 37th edition of the National Games this October, the opening ceremony of which will be held at the Fatorda stadium and the games thrown open by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant made the announcement on Wednesday that it will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his official Altinho residence in a press conference at which iconic Indian athlete P T Usha, who currently heads the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was also present. A Rajya Sabha MP, Usha was in Goa with an IOA team which also consisted of secretary general Kalyan Chaubey, to inspect the facilities at the various stadiums where the multi-discipline Games will be held. Sports Minister Govind Gaude was also present. Sawant said, the State government is taking the responsibility seriously and is also simultaneously collaborating with the various State Sports Sports tourism is our next activity in the tourism area. We will help to organise sports events at national level in future as we have infrastructure ready after National Games --Pramod Sawant WOMEN WRESTLERS HAVEN’T APPROACHED US (IOA): PT USHA >> See pg 12 Associations to ensure that Goa also performs well at the Games in addition to hosting it. “We are reviewing the infrastructure and planning for the logistical and other requirements for organising the games,” Sawant said, adding that the Associations are being taken into confidence to improve the State’s sporting ethos. Sawant earlier held a meeting with the Usha-led IOA >Continued on P6
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