The Shah commission probing illegal mining activity in Goa was told by the directorate of mines and geology that mining activity carried out without obtaining due permissions could not be termed illegal as it was happening in leases that were deemed to have been renewed.
"The activity cannot be termed illegal in most of the cases, as the activity is being done in existing deemed mining leases but without obtaining the requisite permission / consents," mines department said in reply to a question by the commission.
Renewal of leases had not been obtained in many cases but the leases were deemed to have been renewed.
The commission was also informed that demand for low grade iron ore was the cause of illegal mining. Further the commission was informed that a proper monitoring system to curb illegal mining activity at mine exit points, jetty sites, etc, did not exit.
According to the mines department the government had framed rules namely Goa (Prevention of Illegal Mining, Transportation and Storage of Minerals) Rules, 2004 to curb illegal mining and trading, and that it was verifying lease holders' data to identify export sans royalty payment.
Further, the department informed the commission that it, along with the Indian Bureau of Mines, needed to hold joint inspection to curb illegal mining and that departments be tasked with specific responsibilities to curb illegal mining in the state.