The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has sought a detailed report about the possible economic impact on Goa of the Supreme Court order setting aside the second renewal of 88 iron ore mining leases in the state, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said Tuesday. Asked whether the state will auction the mining leases as suggested by the SC, Parrikar said, “It will be decided after taking all the parties into confidence, including the MLAs and stakeholders.”
Parrikar said he had received a call from the PMO, a day after the SC passed the judgement on February 7, inquiring about the possible impact of the apex court verdict on the state, reports PTI.
“In fact, when the judgement about mining was pronounced, he (PM Narendra Modi) was not in India, but the next day, I got a call from his office inquiring about the possible economic impact of the verdict,” Parrikar told reporters. He was speaking on the sideline of a function where he laid the foundation stone of a Super Speciality Block of Goa Medical College and Hospital.
“They asked me to send a report immediately and if possible meet the prime minister. This was the message from his office,” he said. Parrikar said the report would be submitted in another 10-15 days. “The report cannot be prepared in a haste. I have called for a meeting of all the MLAs from the mining belt tomorrow to understand the impact and also discuss the situation,” he said.
“It will take some time to analyse the possible impact on the state of the SC order. Right now, there is no crisis because the mining is currently happening and it can happen till March 15. “We will see that it will continue till May 31 by way of e-auctioning and other measures. It will take care of this season,” he said.
The mining season in the state continues till the arrival of south-west monsoon in June every year. Last week, the Supreme Court quashed the second renewal of 88 iron ore mining leases in Goa in 2015, saying the sole motive of the companies behind the commercial activity was profit maximisation and no social purpose was attached to it.
The apex court had asked these mines to stop operating from March 15. He refused to mention whether relief to the affected people would be provided in the budget, which will be placed on the floor of the House on February 22 during upcoming assembly session.
Addressing the gathering, Parrikar heaped praise on Modi, saying he is always concerned about issues affecting the common man. “Narendra Modi has been among the three most influential world leaders, who are respected across the globe. Despite enjoying this kind of popularity and acceptance, he has his feet firmly on the ground,” Parrikar said.
“Although he is a world leader, he thinks about the issues of the grassroots. He is also concerned that many people don’t have proper toilet facilities and open defecation is still there. He would be inquiring about the progress of open defecation free scheme. Either I will get a letter from his office or he himself will call me,” he added.
“While rubbing shoulders with the world leaders, this man also has his feet on the ground. You don’t get leaders like that. We are lucky that he has an additional soft corner for Goa. He has not refused any proposal related to Goa,” Parrikar said.