Cracking the whip on illegal mining, Goa's new government today suspended the licences of all the 448 traders in the state in a bid to weed out fake traders operating in the mining industry.
The suspension came a day after the BJP-led government, which made "illegal mining scams" as one of the election issues, suspended Director of Mines Arvind Lolienkar from services for his alleged involvement in the illegal mining scam, pending enquiry. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar holds the mining portfolio.
In an order issued by the newly-appointed Director of Mines and Geology Prasanna Acharya this evening, licences of these traders have been suspended by asking them to respond back with proper documentation within a fortnight.
Acharya said the traders will have to approach the Mines Department with their documents, which should also include details about the mining companies, from whom they buy the ore.
State's iron ore trading is mainly handled by these traders, who act as a conduit between the mine owners and exporters.
Inquiry into the issue of illegal mining trade in the state had pointed finger at the rising number of traders, many of whom were operating with the fake postal addresses and details.
Acharya said the state Mines Ministry will formulate proper guidelines for the traders. "Only those, who fall within the guidelines, will be eligible to trade in the state," he added.
Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA), a parent body of ore exporters, had earlier claimed that several million tonnes of ore was being shipped by the traders, who are not registered with them.
The ore, which is termed as unclassified, was left without knowing their source of origin, giving a scope to suspect that it was illegally tapped.
The Mines Ministry has also decided not to allow any further registration of mining trucks.
"We will have to either stop the registration of trucks or give them a deadline, after which, no new trucks should be registered," Acharya said adding that this measure was taken to reduce the traffic on the already congested roads in the mining belt.