Even as mining activity remains suspended due to the Supreme Court order, the Goa Government has begun the process to collect stamp duty by renewing mining leases in areas not falling under forest cover.

This is to make up for the financial loss caused to the State exchequer in the absence of royalty.

The Directorate of Mines and Geology has issued notices to seven mining lease holders, which will yield revenue of Rs 161 crore to the State treasury in the form of stamp duty.

The notices maintain that their leases, which were supposed to be renewed in 2007, would now be renewed for 20 years till 2027.

“The notices are issued to pay the stamp duty and renew leases only to those mines which are not falling in the forest areas. That means they do not require forest clearances,” Parag Nagarcekar, Assistant Director of Mines and Geology Department, told PTI.

Official records show that there are 42 mines which lie outside the forest area (hence do not require forest clearance), of which seven have been issued notices to pay stamp duty, after a scrutiny of their documents.

The notices signed by Director of Mines and Geology Prasanna Acharya mention that the stamp duty has to be paid by February 28.

The Manohar Parrikar Government last year had amended the Stamp Duty Act by introducing a clause which makes it mandatory for mine owners to pay duty for the next 20 years at a time when his lease is being renewed.

Mining leases in the State have not been renewed since 2007, although several firms had applied for renewal.

Nagarcekar said only those mines which had applied before 2007 would be considered for renewal.

In all 336 mining lease holders were eligible to apply for renewal, of which 118 were working mines, while the rest were dormant in 2007.

“Government has taken a stand before the Supreme Court that the renewal of mining lease deeds would be expeditiously carried out,” he said.

The extraction and transportation of ore has been stopped in Goa by the apex court pending inquiry by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC).

(This article was published on February 20, 2013)
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