New Delhi: Goa's new government is keen to ensure resumption of mining in the state in the next two months. Mining is a major source of living for the people of the tiny coastal state. Sources said Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who has assumed office on Tuesday, would take forward his predecessor Manohar Parrikar's efforts to resume iron ore mining in the state.
"Our late Chief Minister had taken up this issue with the Centre and we will take his 'wishes' forward for the people of Goa to resolve the issue as soon as possible," a top Goa govt source said.
"We think the mining resumption will happen before the new government forms at Centre this year. We have already prepared a road map in this regard and the new government in charge will likely soon meet the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and other concerned officials at the Centre," the source said.
The Goa Mining People's Front (GMPF) believes the solution lies in making an amendment, with prospective effect, to the Goa, Daman & Diu Mining Leases (Abolition of Mining Concessions and Declaration as Mining Leases) Act, 1987. This, GMPF believes, will extend the period of iron ore leases, which have lapsed in 2007, till 2037.
"Even former CM had written to the central govt for the same demand we are making now. The state Assembly has also passed a unanimous resolution to the effect," said GMPF President Puti Gaonkar.
The only hope, GMPF said, now is probably the SC, which may, on a compassionate ground, provide some relief by giving the Goans an early hearing in cases pending for two decades, without even the bench being constituted. "In public interest, the govt has to file an affidavit in the SC so that the court gives the 20 year-old case an early hearing and constitute a bench," it said.
The GMPF has already submitted a memorandum to the Chief Secretary of Goa, saying the closure of mining industry in the state has had a devastating socio-economic effect, affecting the economy and the livelihood of mining-dependant people and entities.
The mining dependents from the mining belt and port towns have been protesting ever since the SC banned extraction and transportation of iron ore from 88 mining leases from March 31, 2018, quashing their second renewal by the state. This was the second time in less than six years that all mining in the state had come to a standstill.