The Goa government is planning to re-introduce the scheme for one-time settlement of loans taken by people for mining-related purposes. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said in the state Legislative Assembly last evening that he has discussed with the banks to re-introduce the scheme for the people, including truck owners, affected due to closure of the mining industry in Goa. “I have already discussed with the banks to re-open the one-time settlement scheme,” he said. The scheme, providing an opportunity to the people to repay the loan, was launched in September 2014, two years after the state’s iron ore industry was shut down following a Supreme Court order, in view of illegal mining activities. Under the debt relief scheme, a subsidy of up to 35 percent on the total loan settlement amount was provided by the state government.
However, the scheme was closed in March last year after the then chief minister, Laxmikant Parsekar, said there was poor response from borrowers, who had piled up huge loan liabilities in different national and cooperative banks. Parrikar said the state government, through various financial schemes, had so far paid Rs 278 crore to the people affected with the closure of the mining industry. The chief minister also assured the House that the money collected from the mining companies as a part of the’district mineral fund’ would be utilised after appointing the committee required for the same. The fund collected from mining firms is lying idle with the Goa government for want of a committee which is to decide how to spend the amount.
As per the Supreme Court’s directive, mining firms have to contribute 30 per cent of royalty to a special fund created by the government. The money in the fund has to be utilised to create infrastructure and other facilities in the state’s mining belt. “Post the Assembly session, the notification (for appointing the committee) will be out and by October, the fund will be put into operation,” Parrikar said. “We will use the money to construct the long pending mining corridor project. In the next two years, we will ensure that it is shaped up,” he said in the House.