The Goa government has found itself in a difficult situation after its ambitious mining corridor projects in the state failed to garner any interest from mining firms, which were expected to share the cost.
Chief minister Digambar Kamat, in the state Budget for the 2011-12 financial year, had earmarked Rs 500 crore for the mining corridors, which would be dedicated for transport of minerals from the thickly inhabited areas of the mining belt to port facilities.
State-run Goa Infrastructure Development Corporation has already signed an agreement with Niraj Cement Structurals Limited to construct the first phase of the mining corridor, costing Rs 65.76 crore.
However, though work for one stretch of mining corridor in South Goa has been tendered, it seems as though mining firms have developed cold feet about participating in the initiative, as the state government's attempts to bring in more participants have not been successful.
As per the minutes of the recent meeting of the Steering Committee on Mining Corridors held on July 13, mines secretary S Kumarswamy informed the chief minister that no one has come forward to share the project cost.
Kamat, in his Budget speech, had claimed that the corridors would be built on a cost-sharing basis, as the roads would be exclusively used by trucks transporting ore from the mining sites to the jetties, from where they would be loaded on to big ships.
The Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA), an organisation of ore exporters, has indicated that their support for these corridors may come with a rider.
GMOEA President Shivanand Salgaoncar told the Chief Minister during a meeting that the government has to ensure that renewals and other pending environmental issues are looked into earnestly.
Salgaoncar was not available for comment after the meeting.
Goa has 105 mining sites, of which 90 are operational, tapping 45 million metric tones of ore annually.
The mining corridors were planned after a string of agitations by locals, who complained that the trucks were creating pollution in their localities.
The state government, which has to address several issues in order to get the mining corridors operational, has asked the mining firms that will be using this road to deposit Rs 10 crore each as an advance toward their contribution to the project.