Supreme Court of India has quashed the second renewal of iron ore mining leases given to 88 companies in Goa in 2015. The apex court directed the Centre and the Goa government to grant fresh environmental clearances to them. Those who have been granted a second renewal in violation of its previous decision and directions, are granted time to manage their affairs and may continue mining operations till March 15 this year.
They are directed to stop all mining operations with effect from March 16, 2018 until fresh mining leases (not fresh renewals or other renewals) are granted and fresh environmental clearances are granted. The apex court also directed the government to set up a SIT and a team of chartered accountants to recover the amount from mining companies, which were allowed to extract ore in violation of the law. The judgment came on a petition filed by an NGO, Goa Foundation, which had earlier also raised the issue of companies carrying out mining in violation of various statutes.