Parrikar writes to Centre, seeks changes in mines Act
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Tuesday urged the Centre to bring necessary amendments in the mines Act to facilitate resumption of iron ore mining which has come to a halt in the state since March.
He wrote a letter to Union Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, seeking changes in the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act.
The suspension of mining activity has resulted in loss of jobs and adverse impact on tertiary sectors of the economy, said Parrikar, admitted at New Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) because of a pancreatic ailment.
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The seven-page-letter is the Goa CM's first communication with the Centre on the issue of mining since his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August.
The Supreme Court had on February 7, 2018 quashed 88 mining leases, shutting down extraction of iron ore in the state. The SC, whose order came into effect from mid-March, had declared as illegal, the renewal of mining leases by the state government.
"The political governance demands immediate intervention to resolve such difficulties, including by altering the very basis of the Supreme Court judgement," he said in the letter.
"As the subject of development and regulation of mines and minerals is within the competence of Central government, this is to request you to kindly consider bringing about necessary amendments to the provisions of the MMDA Act so as to bring at par Goa with the rest of the country and give necessary impetus to the economy of the state," he said.
The letter has highlighted the chain of events from 2012 when the mining industry, a key source of revenue and employment in Goa, came to a halt for the first time due to an SC judgement.
The suspension was lifted by the apex court in 2014.
"The present request is being made due to the emergent situation which has arisen in the state resulting in eroding more than 30 per cent of the states economy.
"One of the primary sectors of the economy of the state of Goa since pre-independence has been the mining sector and more specifically iron ore mining," the chief minister said.
"In fact, since the mining concessions in the state were brought under the MMDR Act regime, the said activity has contributed immensely to the revenue of the state government in the form of royalties, taxes and cess," he said.
Parrikar said the industry has suffered because of the acts of a few.
"The mining industry as such came under scrutiny of the Supreme Court since 2009 in various states wherein due to the acts of a few, the industry as a whole has suffered.
Which, in turn, has directly impacted the state revenue apart from the fact that suspension of mining has resulted in loss of jobs and also impacted the dependents and tertiary sectors of the economy," Parrikar said.
The CM said the SC's February order came at a time when the sector was restarting activity with substantial checks and balances.
"In the last 72 months,operation in the state has been for only 10 months. The shutdown could not havecome at a wrong time just whenthe sector was being restarted with substantial checks and balancesbeing placed by the government," he said.
Parrikar said more than 2.5 people, who were directly or indirectly dependent on mining in Goa, arestaring at an uncertain future.
"A large portion of such dependentpersons who were providing support facilities to the miningindustry like dock and barge operators, have approached thegovernment for relief in the form of waiver of their loans, which inthe present scenario may not be possible for the state," he said.
Parrikar recalled he had discussed the matter with the PM and also the Group of Ministers set up over the issue.
"In my opinion, theworking class cannot be left in such circumstances, forcing them totake law into their own hands. There are reports about school dropouts, increase of theft and other criminalactivities in thearea (housing iron ore mines)," he added.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)