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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Apr 2014

Goa govt afraid of 'unrest' due to mining ban

IANS  Panaji, December 04, 2012
First Published: 11:22 IST(4/12/2012) | Last Updated: 11:31 IST(4/12/2012)

Goa can't afford the social and political unrest that may arise due to the Supreme Court imposed ban on mining, the state's chief secretary has said in a letter to an apex court-appointed committee.

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In one of the several missives sent by the Goa government to the committee probing illegal mining in the state, B Vijayan has also argued for resumption of "sustainable mining" in Goa.

"The state would rather forego the revenue that accrues from mining. However, it is afraid of serious threat of social and political unrest which the state is in no position to afford," the chief secretary has said in his latest communication to the Supreme Court-appointed central empowered committee, which wound up its probe in Goa a few weeks ago.

Vijayan has also given a detailed breakdown of the direct and indirect impact which could be caused to Goa's economy in view of the mining ban.

The top bureaucrat said that while the state government would suffer a direct revenue loss of Rs. 930 crore, the "total cumulative income loss to the economy of the state" would amount to Rs. 17,600 crore, which is more than double the state's revenue expenditure for the 2012-13 fiscal.

Spelling out a possible unemployment scenario, Vijayan has said that over one lakh people would be rendered jobless if the ban on mining continued, almost echoing the sentiments of the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA), which last week quoted a similar figure of projected unemployment.

"The state is totally against reckless mining at the cost of ecology and environment but sustainable mining in the state cannot be stopped," the chief secretary has said, adding that mining as an economic activity had been going on in Goa since the Portuguese times and it was the mainstay of the state's economy.

Incidentally, Vijayan has also pointed in his letter that the contribution of the mining sector to the state domestic product almost doubled from 9.36 % in 2006-07 to 18.06 % in 2011-12.

The Justice MB Shah commission, which probed illegal mining in Goa and put a figure of Rs. 35,000 crore on the scam, had identified the years from 2006 to 2011 as the period when the bulk of the scam took place.

The letter also says that the Goa government would not even resume mining in the state, even if the Central Empowered Committee and the Supreme Court sanctions approval, until an effective regulatory mechanism is put in place to check rampant and excessive mining.

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