'Govt corporation will delay mining resumption in Goa'

Panaji, Feb 23 (IANS): Setting up a state government-run mineral corporation would delay the resumption of mining in Goa, a collective of mining industry dependants said on Tuesday. They demanded immediate resumption of iron ore extraction in Goa which has been halted since 2018.

In a statement issued here, Puti Gaonkar, President of the Goa Mining People's Front (GMPF), a collective of mining industry workers and small allied businesses, said forming a government mining corporation to oversee mining activity in Goa would be going against the grain of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's firm backing to private sector enterprises.

"We do not see a mineral corporation being a viable alternative to resumption of mining in Goa, as it will only delay the resumption of mining with issues like surface rights and perpetuity rights enjoyed by the mine owners. The same is with auctioning of leases," Gaonkar added.

"Formation of a mineral corporation seems to be antithesis to the idea propounded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who seeks to promote private enterprises in the country to overcome years of inefficiencies which have been seen in the public sector," he added.

Setting up a mining corporation to serve as the key agency overseeing the mining industry, has been one of the options which the state government has been considering to restart the beleaguered sector.

Leading green NGO 'Goa Foundation', whose petition had led to the Supreme Court's ban on mining activity in Goa in 2012, has also been lobbying for setting up a state government-run mining corporation to oversee and regulate the sector.

Mining activity in Goa was banned by the apex court first in 2012 following the unearthing of a Rs 35,000 crore scam by a Judicial Commission appointed by the Central government. It was resumed in 2015 with restrictions, before it was stopped again after the apex court in 2018 found irregularities in the renewal of 88 mining leases.



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