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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

No end in sight to Goa’s mining logjam

A Group of Ministers headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been constituted to tackle Goa’s mining deadlock which is the result of the Supreme Court cancelling 88 mining leases renewed by the State government in 2015, on grounds that the renewals were illegal.

india Updated: Sep 21, 2019 14:06 IST
Gerard de Souza
Gerard de Souza
Hindustan Times, Panaji
A Group of Ministers had been appointed to resolve Goa’s mining problem.
A Group of Ministers had been appointed to resolve Goa’s mining problem.(HT Photo)
         

The Group of Ministers appointed to resolve Goa’s mining imbroglio was “working earnestly” to resolve the issue, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said but later in the day admitted that the Groups of Ministers that were constituted were not meeting as often as they should.

“I know there was a group of ministers which has met the CM of Goa had participated in it. The GoM has made progress and they have a keen interest in restoring something on Goa,” Sitharaman said in Goa where she was to chair the 37th meeting of the Goods and Services Council.

However, speaking after the meeting, Sitharaman said that one of the issues that came up before the council was that the Groups of Ministers that have been constituted are not meeting nearly enough.

“There has also been a very clear suggestion that GoMs -- about four of them which are in existence -- should fairly quickly meet because they have had their meetings delayed for genuine considerations, but now the house felt that the GoMs for the respective mandated topics would meet earliest and come to some kind of quick resolution of those issues which are posed to them,” Sitharaman announced.

A Group of Ministers headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been constituted to tackle Goa’s mining deadlock which is the result of the Supreme Court cancelling 88 mining leases renewed by the State government in 2015, on grounds that the renewals were illegal.

The Goa Mining People’s Front had highlighted how it has been more than two months since the GoM has met and that there is no end in sight.

“More than two months have passed from the date of the same GoM and till date there has been no progress made. In the interim there are instances wherein there are reports emanating that the government intends to modify the definition of illegal mining to help the public sector units. We wonder if such swift steps can be taken to protect, interest of PSUs why can’t the Union government be more proactive when it comes to protecting the livelihood and futures of 3 lakh Goans,” Gaonkar said in his statement.

A delegation of the Goa Mining People’s Front also attempted to meet the Union Finance Minister at the venue of the GST council meet but were not given an audience.

“The present mining stoppage has resulted in widespread economic impact... The social impact on account of stoppage of mining industry is now being felt by the Goan populace. Parents are being forced to compromise on the education that they intended to provide their children to give them a bright future,” Puti Gaonkar the president of the GMPF said in a memorandum that they handed over to the minister.

A separate delegation of ore transport barge owners called on the Union Finance Minister and sought relief from public sector banks, which they alleged were refusing to waive off loans.

First Published: Sep 21, 2019 14:06 IST

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