A green NGO, Goa Foundation, on Saturday symbolically locked the office premises of the Goa Mines and Geology Department here, accusing its officials of turning a blind eye towards alleged theft of iron ore by mining companies.
"We are symbolically locking the doors of the Mines and Geology Department in protest against the department's inability to stop theft of iron ore outside mining lease areas, despite explicit directions from the Supreme Court of India," Goa Foundation trustee Claude Alvares told reporters here, before putting a lock on the door of the office.
Alvares later handed over the keys to officials at the Goa Police headquarters, while also handing over a complaint, highlighting the Mines and Geology Department's role in allowing iron ore to be allegedly stolen from outside mining leases.
After nearly all operational mining leases in the state were scrapped by the apex in February, mining companies had petitioned the Supreme Court to allow them to harvest already extracted ore lying in river jetties and outside the mining lease area.
In response to the petition, the apex court had allowed the mining companies to only lift ore lying in jetties, while rejecting the plea to allow extracted iron ore dumped outside the lease area.
In its petition filed before the Panaji Bench of the Bombay High Court earlier this month, Goa Foundation alleged that mining companies had continued to extract ore from outside the designated lease area, while accusing officials of the state government's mines and geology department of collusion.
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