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SC cancels all mining leases in Goa: Order leaves state BJP govt red faced

The Goa government had cleared the second renewal for 88 mining leases for 20 years in 2015. The Goa Foundation had alleged that the renewals were illegal.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2018 23:39 IST
Ketaki Ghoge and Snehal Fernandes
Ketaki Ghoge and Snehal Fernandes
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mining lease,Goa,Supreme Court
Supreme Court cancelled 88 mining leases given by Goa government for violating procedure on Wednesday.(HT File Photo)

The apex court verdict that cancelled 88 mining leases, cleared in 2015, comes as an embarrassment to the Manohar Parrikar-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Goa.

In 2015, the Goa government cleared second renewal for 88 mining leases for 20 years. The Goa Foundation, which challenged this decision, alleged that the renewals were illegal and came on the day (January 12) when the new ordinance was approved. The ordinance called for an auction of mining leases as opposed to renewals.

The decision to renew leases was seen as a turn around by the party because Parrikar as the Leader of Opposition had exposed the mining scam and led a campaign against the Congress. Even though Parrikar had moved to Delhi in 2014 and left Laxmikant Parsekar in charge when this decision was made, he continued to be seen as one who would call the shots.

While Parrikar remained unavailable for comment, he told IANS, “There is no panic. We can decide in two, three days. I have to also seek legal advice on the issue. As a chief minister, I cannot comment casually. The order is not applicable (from) tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, the Opposition trained guns on the CM. The Aam Admi Party called for a probe into the lease renewals and Congress demanded Parrikar’s resignation. “When Parrikar was the opposition leader and PAC chairman pre-2012, he came out with this bogus theory of 25,000 crore loss. Then as CM in 2012, he took a knee-jerk action of stopping mining in Goa. Even as late as September 2017, Parrikar said that Goa is no longer dependant on mining revenue. Since 2012 till date, Parrikar never reached out to stakeholders of mining nor did he get any package from the Centre which he promised for mining dependents in 2014 Lok Sabha election manifesto,” said Yatish Naik, spokesperson of Goa Congress.

First Published: Feb 07, 2018 23:39 IST