Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to address the current crisis in the state’s mining sector, saying it has impacted 1.5 lakh people and hit iron ore exports worth up to Rs 25,000 crore. During his first visit to the national capital after undergoing treatment for a pancreatic ailment in the US, Parrikar met Modi and also briefed a group of central ministers about the issues in the mining sector.
Last week, the Goa Assembly passed a resolution urging the Centre to suitably amend the Goa, Daman and Diu Mining Concessions (Abolition and Declaration as Mining Leases) Act, to allow mining leases in the state to be operational till 2037. The resolution also wanted the Centre to amend the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act in order to give mining leases in Goa a 50-year tenure of operation. “I have requested him (Prime Minister) to consider Goa on priority… There is a very positive approach from the PM,” the chief minister said after meeting Modi in New Delhi.
Parrikar was accompanied by Union Minister and North Goa MP Shripad Naik, Rajya Sabha member Vinay Tendulkar and South Goa Member of Parliament Narendra Sawaikar. After participating in a GoM on mining, Parrikar told reporters Goa is facing a total collapse in mining in the wake of a Supreme Court judgement and the GoM after “patiently hearing” the state of affairs has assured to work on some solution.
When asked whether he also gave some suggestions, he said, “My options were some legal amendments … which would remove all these impediments because Goa is (in) very complex situation. It was concessions. From concessions we have shifted to lease.”
The chief minister also tweeted, “Called on the Hon’ble PM Shri. @narendramodi ji in New Delhi and briefed him on the mining issue and other development works in the state of Goa.” Parrikar said Goa is one of the net exporters of iron ore that has come to a halt. “From about Rs 20,000-25,000 crore export (it) is today zero and it has affected anywhere up to 1.5 lakh people in the state,” he said.
He said that iron ore mined in Goa cannot be used in India as it is low-grade ore and needs to be exported adding that countries like Australia and Brazil are now taking advantage of this situation and exporting to “our markets”.
In order to re-establish the market, a concrete plan is a must, he said. The state’s mining sector has been shut since March 16 this year after the Supreme Court, through an order in February, cancelled 88 leases and banned the extraction of fresh ore.
The private member’s resolution, moved by BJP MLA Nilesh Cabral, had stated that the Goa government would urge the Centre to suitably amend the Goa, Daman and Diu Mining Concessions (Abolition and Declaration as Mining Leases) Act, to make it effective from May 23, 1987 instead of December 20, 1961. This would allow mining leases in the state to be operational till 2037.
The resolution also wants the Union government to amend the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act in order to give mining leases in Goa a 50-year tenure of operation.