The CAG’s performance audit report on mining in Goa was recently released. Of the 88 leases renewed, only 3 leases were executed and registered by July 2015 (the last were renewed on 12-Jan-2015). Large errors were observed in the stamp duty amount collected in two cases. The stamp duty to be collected was Rs. 14.25 crores. Instead, only Rs. 9.75 crores (68%) was collected, resulting in a loss of Rs. 4.50 crores. Additionally, another Rs. 22 lakhs was lost on the accompanying registration fee.
From small samples, quite a few other “errors” were observed. For instance, the CAG examined records for 15 test leases for 2009-10 (also covered by the Shah Commission and the PAC Report). In one case, it found that the lessee had reported excavating 9.95 lakh tons, while paying royalty on Rs. 11.49 lakh tons. Over-excavated ore falls into illegal mining, and the total amount recoverable has been calculated at Rs. 15.92 crores. In two leases, it found a shortfall of royalty paid – Rs. 5.90 crores was to be collected, Rs. 4.47 crores (76%), leading to a loss of Rs. 1.43 crores. In one of the royalty challans, an arithmetical error lead to collection of Rs. 1.49 crores instead of Rs. 1.75 crores (15% loss). And there is absolutely no independent check on the quantity or quality of the ore. Again, in 90 leases, no interest was collected as statutorily mandated on delays of payment surface rent and dead rent.
In the light of such a high frequency of large errors, always to the benefit of the mining companies, it is apparent that we need radical transparency so that citizens can verify for themselves that their children’s mineral inheritance is being managed properly.