PANAJI: The Bombay High Court at Goa dismissed miscellenous civil applications filed by three mining companies and directed them to deposit an amount of Rs 65 lakh each as per the earlier order dated December 18, 2019.
The court however allowed these mining companies to file an undertaking within one week that the amount would be deposited within next four weeks from the day the applications were dismissed that is January 16, 2019.
The division bench comprising Justice Mahesh S Sonak and Justice M S Jawalkar court further stated that if the applicants fail to file undertaking then the amount of Rs 65 lakh be dsposited within the originally granted time which was January 27, 2020.
The court also extended the time-limit for commencement of the work by the Water Resources Department (WRD) up to February 1, 2020, after Advocate General Devidas Pangam pointed that the tender process was complete and work order will be issued in next four to five days time.
The court had earlier directed the WRD to undertake the work of desiltation of the field 'Savat Khazan' at Shirgao in Bicholim taluka within 30 days from the date of the order.
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Three mining companies -- Chowgule and Co Pvt Ltd, Sesa Mining Corporation Ltd and Rajaram Bandekar (Sirigao) Mines had filed miscellenous civil application seeking modification of the order dated December 18, 2019.
The counsel for the applicants submitted that at the highest each of the mining companies be required to deposit an amount of Rs 10 to 12 lakh and nothing further.
He pointed out that subject matter of the petition was the field 'Savat Khazan' and this was evident even from the order dated December 18, 2019 made in this matter.
Adv Norma Alvares, who was appointed as Amicus Curiae and the Advocate General opposed these applications for modification. They told the court that the records clearly bear out that the estimate of approximately Rs 4.03 crore covers desiltation work in the fields 'Savat Khazan', Kharat Khazan and Poi (Rivulets) which abuts/surrounds these fields.
They pointed out the plans on record and submit that the mining pits of the three mining companies though, mostly adjacent to the field 'Savat Khazan' also, in case of Chowgule and company/dump abut the field 'Kharat Khazan'.
They also told the court that two fields and Poi had an integrated ecosystem and if desiltation was carried out in the field of 'Savat Khazan' the problem was bound to recur.
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The duo further pointed out that in fact carrying out the work only in 'Savat Khazan' was bound to prove futile because the silt will re-enter the said field.
They submitted that even the NEERI report or the report prepared by the WRD had favoured the consolidated work, which cannot be restricted only to the field of 'Savat Khazan'.
After considering the rival contentions, the court opined that no modification was warranted in its order dated December 18, 2019 and directed the three mining companies to comply with the directions given in the earlier order.