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Mining stake-holders pin hopes on House resolution on Aug 3.

Date: 30-07-2018
Subject: Mining stake-holders pin hopes on House resolution on Aug 3
Mining industry in Goa, which came to a halt in March this year in the wake of a Supreme Court ban, is pinning hopes on a resolution that will come up for discussion in the Legislative Assembly on August 3.

The proposed resolution urges Parliament to amend the Goa, Daman and Diu Mining Concessions (Abolition and Declaration as Mining Leases) Act, 1987 for resumption of iron ore mining.

The mining industry in the coastal state came to a standstill from March 16 this year, over a month after the Supreme Court quashed the second renewal of iron ore mining leases given to 88 companies in 2015.

BJP MLA Nilesh Cabral has already moved a private members resolution in the House.

Cabral today said the amendment to the Act by Parliament will prolong life of the mining leases till 2037.

"Mining dependents cannot wait for the auctioning of the mining leases, which might take 10-15 more years. They want that existing mine owners be allowed tocontinue with the extraction and export of ore," said Cabral who represents iron ore rich belt of Curchorem in South Goa.

He claimed that people who lost the source of livelihood due to closure of mining have started applying for Portuguese passport, in hope of finding employment in the European country.

Referring to the mining ban imposed by the apex court in October 2012, the MLA said the situation on the mining front was normalised and regularised after the SC vacated the stay in 2014-15.

"All the systems were in place and mining was done in much organised manner when the new order (of the SC) came quashing the leases (in February this year)," he said.

The SC had first banned mining in 2012, after M B Shah Commission pointed out illegalities during 2005-2012 to the extent of Rs 35,000 crore.

The state government had disputed the figures.

Goa Mining People's Front (GMPF), an umbrella body representing mining dependent people, had met public representatives from Goa and Central leaders like Congress chief Rahul Gandhi demanding amendment to the Act.

"We are hopeful that the resolution would be passed on the floor of the House unanimously urging the state government to request the Union government to amend the act in Parliament," said GMPF president Puti Gaonkar.

Once parliament amends the act, it would take at least four to five months more for resumption of mining.

"There are some documents like fresh Environment Clearance that are required to ensure that mining restarts. What is important is that once the procedure to resume mining starts, the mining companies will not retrench their staff," Gaonkar said.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had last week assured the mining industry stakeholders that he would take up the issue of proposed amendment to the Mining Act before the central Group of Ministers (GoM) in Delhi.

Source: moneycontrol.com

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