Mining shutdown to cause Rs 3,500 crore loss to Goa, unemployment in thousands: State Minister

Goa is staring at a revenue loss of Rs 3,500 crore annually and downscaling of nearly two lakh jobs following a Supreme Court order over non-renewal of iron ore mining leases in the state, a minister has told PTI.

The state government is currently trying to enlist the central government’s help in dealing with this impending crisis.

The Supreme Court last month cancelled the mining leases granted to 88 companies by the Goa government. These leases had been renewed by the state government in 2015, the SC has asked for them to be auctioned now. The lease holders have been given a deadline of March 15 to stop their operations.

The state government has been asked to auction the leases along with fresh environmental clearances.

Goa transport minister Sudin Dhavalikar expressing concern over the Apex court’s order told PTI, “The estimate is that we will lose Rs 3,500 crore annually and also around two lakh people will be rendered jobless, if the mining industry stops forever.”
“The Centre has to provide us a way out of this situation and we have faith that it will do it,” said Dhavalikar added, whose Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) is an ally of the BJP in Goa.

The Goa government is currently busy charting its strategy to deal with the order. The mining industry stakeholders, however, are worried about their livelihood. “We can’t live in this kind of an uncertain situation for long,” Nilkant Gawas, the president of All Goa Truck Owners’ Association, told PTI.

“Let the people know once and for all whether mining will stop or will be allowed to continue without any hiccups,” Gawas added.

Trucks are used to transport iron ore from mining sites to jetties along Goa’s Rivers.

One of the mine owners PTI spoke even suggested amendment to the Mines and Minerals (Regulations and Development) Act so that the industry is not adversely affected by the Supreme Court’s order.

Information credit: PTI

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