Claude Alvares

The Supreme Court will complete its proceedings on the Goa mining case on Monday, 24 March, 2014. The report of the expert committee on Intergenerational Equity and Goa mining will be shared with the Court on that day. The report has already been filed. However, because the Court is on a week’s vacation, we will not get a copy till 24th morning.

In the meanwhile, the Court’s registrar has handed out copies of the Regional Environmental Impact Assessment Study of Mining in Goa Region, prepared by the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, for the Ministry for the Destruction of Environment & Forests.

The ISM report is 22 volumes and is designed to give everyone a headache if they want to find any logic in its findings or recommendations.

The report was to be handed over to the Supreme Court end of September 2013. However, as the Court took the view that it must have an expert recommendation on a mining cap for Goa, the ISM was induced to delay the filing of the report so that it could add a few paragraphs on capping, which it did by November.

Neither capping nor intergenerational equity issues are part of its terms of reference.

The ISM study recommends a cap of 25 million tonnes (24.995 mtpa to be precise) if the mining company continues to use trucks with 10 tonne capacity and they occupy the roads for 9 hours daily. (The figure of 24.999 mtpa is very much like the pricing we get for Bata shoes and other commodities.)

ISM also says if the trucks can occupy the roads for 16 hours, the cap could be taken up to 37.69 mtpa.

It also recommends replacing the 10 tonner trucks with 16 tonners. It says if we have 16 tonners, 4 lane undivided dedicated corridor for transportation corridors (built with public money no doubt), the industry could export 37.685 mtpa.

If pipe conveyors are used, it says production can be jacked up to 50 million tonnes. It says if 25 mtpa is extracted, ore will last 45-50 years.

The study was conducted from May 2011 to October 2013. It confirms that during the period mining was active, all air pollution values were violated.

Ministry for Destruction of Environment and Forests paid out more than Rs.2 crores of public money for the report which now no one will read but which could be used to wrap fish in the Mapusa market for one full day sale (amount of fish is not much these days).

Now the NEERI is going to do the same study all over again but there is no mining going on, so what do they study? NEERI has filed the profile of their proposed study. More on that tomorrow. Probably another Rs.2 crores for that study as well?


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