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Don’t amend law to let mining resume in Goa: LawMin

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had requested the Centre to amend the MMDR Act to extend the tenure of mining leases to the year 2037 so that mining operations could resume in the state.

Written by Amitav Ranjan | New Delhi |
November 19, 2018 2:28:26 am
Gujarat mines sale, Gujarat mines auction, Adani Cementation Ltd, JSW Cement Ltd and Shree Cement Ltd, India news, National news Mining in Goa was stopped on March 15 after the apex court quashed the second renewal of 88 mining leases granted by the state government. (Source: Express)

THE UNION Law Ministry has said that the central government should decline Goa’s request for an amendment to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act to resume mining activity in the state. Law Secretary Suresh Chandra informed the Mines Ministry last month that there was no legislative cure to the shutdown of mines in Goa following a decision by the Supreme Court in February. He advised that miners should directly approach the apex court for a review.

According to the Law Ministry, it would be pointless to approach the Attorney General for an opinion on Goa’s proposed amendment, which was “inconsistent” with Section 8A of the MMDR Act as well as the apex court’s judgment and directions.

Section 8A deals with the period of grant of a mining lease for minerals other than coal, lignite and atomic minerals, and limits the period for which existing leases may be extended depending on the nature of the mining lease — captive or non-captive.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had requested the Centre to amend the MMDR Act to extend the tenure of mining leases to the year 2037 so that mining operations could resume in the state. Mining in Goa was stopped on March 15 after the apex court quashed the second renewal of 88 mining leases granted by the state government.

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Pressure has been building up on the Parrikar government with Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) chief Deepak Dhavalikar issuing an ultimatum that his party would withdraw from the ruling alliance if the mining issue was not resolved by December 15.

Parrikar had requested the Centre that Section 8A be amended to re-fix the official start date of the 50-year mining leases beginning 1987. This was perceived by the Law Ministry as altering the “very basis” of the Supreme Court judgment.

The Law Secretary was of the view that the issue relating to illegal mining in Goa was specifically dealt by the Court and “the attempt by the state government to validate their continuance de hors (outside of) the legal provisions occupying the field was rejected”.

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His remedy is that the Goa government should ask stakeholders to seek a review of the February 7 order as the Court, while giving directions and cancelling the lease, had perhaps not considered the vested rights of the miners.
“The law laid down by the Supreme Court under Article 141 of the Constitution or the law made by the Parliament normally does not take away the vested rights. This may be a sufficient ground for seeking review of the Supreme Court order,” Chandra advised the Mines Ministry.

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First published on: 19-11-2018 at 02:28:26 am
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