Mining ban: Goa MLAs, miners meet Union Ministers, PMO to bring respite from the ban

Thousands working in Goa’s mining industry currently stare at an uncertain future after the Supreme Court cancelled 88 mining leases renewed by the state in 2015. It also ordered the miners to stop all mining operation after March 15. In an attempt to bring forth the mining crisis to the Center’s notice, an all party delegation from the state met Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal in New Delhi on Monday. Another delegation of Mine owners approached the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to get some relief.

The delegation of local representatives was made up of Public Works Department Minister Sudin Dhavalikar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane (BJP), Speaker Pramod Sawant, Congress MLA Nilkanth Halarnkar. They submitted a memorandum to the Union Ministers and urged them to consider renewing the leases for the next 20 years rather than auctioning fresh ones.

“We have expressed our concerns to the central government. Re-issuing the mining leases afresh, as directed by the Supreme Court, will result in stopping of mining activity for more than a year, which is an economic loss for Goa and its people. We have demanded that mining leases renewed for 20 years instead,” Mr Halarnkar told IANS.

However, the Congress party has seen a rift emerge as its MLA Aleixo Reginaldo took a different stand and demanded that mining leases should be auctioned.

Similarly, a delegation of mine owners from Goa approached the PMO shed light on their plight. Goa Mineral Ore Exporters’ Association (GMOEA) President Ambar Timblo told PTI that they met “Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Nripendra Misra” and explained to him of the impact closure of mining after March 15 would have on the sector and state’s economy.

“The effect on the economy, employment and investment credibility going forward, as this is the worst economic event in recent history,” he told PTI.

The immediate impact would be loss of about 60,000 direct and indirect jobs and about 3 lakh those dependent on mining and about Rs 3,400 crore revenue loss. In last ten years, Goa has contributed nearly Rs 30,000 crore, he added.

“We extend our thanks to you for your much needed support for resumption mining in Goa in 2015 and subsequently reducing the export duty for low grade iron ore progressively in 2016,” the letter to the PMO was quoted by PTI.

Information credit: PTI

Image credit: DigitalGoa