‘Green activists should be banished from Goa’, says ex-CM Pratapsingh Rane
Goa Congress MLA and former chief minister Pratapsingh Rane on Tuesday called for banishing environmental activists in Goa who have brought mining in the state to a halt, blaming them for rendering more than 40,000 people in the state jobless.
Speaking in the legislative assembly on Tuesday, Rane said that the environmental activists had ‘no work’ and only worked towards stopping mining operations in the state.
“There are some unemployed fellows who go to court every now and then. Who gives them money? And they are bringing stay orders and all that sort of nonsense. So many people are without jobs. People have no money. Government no money,” Rane said as he sought answers from the government on steps they would take to restart mining.
“We have to take action against them banish them. Such people are not welcome to Goa. All they do is go to court get a stay order and stop work. Throw them outside Goa. They have destroyed Goa. They have ruined business in Goa. Such fellows should not be welcomed in Goa,” Rane who is the longest serving member of the Goa Legislative Assembly said.
Rane, who represents the Poriem constituency in Goa’s eastern frontier with Karnataka has demanded that “the law should be amended” to restart mining in Goa.
“Ask government of India to amend the law, so that this industry could start again and people could get employed,” he said.
Goa’s mining industry with an annual turnover of Rs 4,000 crore came to a halt in March 2018 after the Supreme Court ruled that the mining lease renewals granted by the state government were not as per law and directed the state government to grant fresh leases instead.
The Supreme Court passed orders on a petition filed by the Goa Foundation as well as an individual Sudip Tamhankar who approached the court in public interest.
Owing to a 2015 amendment to the Mines and Minerals Development Act, granting of fresh leases involves a process of auction, something Goa’s mining companies and government want to avoid.
The government has been seeking an amendment to the Act to do away with the process of auction or alternatively, through a separate amendment to the Goa, Daman and Diu Mining Concessions (Abolition and Declaration as Mining Leases) Act, 1987 retrospectively extend the validity of Goa’s mining leases to circumvent the Supreme Court’s order.
Known as the Goa Mining Concessions Abolition Act, the Act was enacted by Parliament in 1987 to convert Goa’s mining concessions granted by the previous Portuguese regime ‘for perpetuity into leases as defined in the Mines and Mineral Development Act, 1957 with a fixed validity.