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As Goa moves on iron ore mining leases, can industry hope for a revival?

Panaji, Could 8 (IANS) The contours of Goas legacy trade, iron ore mining, is about for a tectonic shift with the BJP-led coalition state authorities poised to repossess 88 mining tracts leased to rich mining barons for generations, a few of which had been additionally transferred to multinational corporations like Vedanta Assets.

Most mining tracts within the state, positioned within the hinterland away from the golden shoreline, got as concessions to bidders by the Portuguese authorities throughout the colonial period, however a sequence of illegalities, together with a Rs 35,000 crore unlawful mining rip-off in addition to irregularities within the lease renewal processes, had compelled the Supreme Courtroom to crack down on the trade, which has been shut all the way down to a big extent since 2018.

The try to repossess 88 mining leases, with the target of handing them over to the just lately shaped state authorities’s mining company, has signalled one more try by successive state governments to restart the mining trade within the state, which at its peak accounted for almost 30 p.c of Goa’s Gross Home Product.

Final week, the state authorities issued notices to the leaseholders of the 88 mining leases – the leases had been by the way scrapped by the SC in 2018 – directing them to adjust to Rule 12(1) (hh) of the Minerals (apart from Atomic and Hydrocarbons Vitality Minerals) Concession Guidelines, 2016, and vacate leases “inside a interval of 1 calendar month w.e.f. from sixth Could to sixth June 2022 failing which additional motion will probably be initiated as deemed applicable when it comes to the MMDR Act and the Guidelines made thereunder”.

The discover additionally directed leaseholders to clear ore, engines, equipment, vegetation, buildings, constructions and tramways from the mining websites.

Whereas the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Affiliation, a collective of iron ore exporters in Goa, has confirmed receipt of the notices, the foyer group has stated that the matter was nonetheless pending within the Excessive Courtroom.

The Goa Mining Folks’s Entrance, a collective of mining staff and small companies linked to the commerce, has additionally urged the state authorities to expedite the resumption of mining.

“Folks within the mining belt have been ready for years for mining to renew. This course of ought to be accomplished as quickly as doable in order that mining exercise begins on the earliest,” the Entrance’s convenor Puti Gaonkar stated.

When mining was at its peak between 2009-2011, almost 13,000 vans and dozens of river barges ferried iron ore from the mining websites to the state’s main port in South Goa for export to China, Japan and different locations. Almost all of the equipment, barge and truck homeowners now await the resumption of mining exercise, by way of the e-auctioning route, which in line with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant is anticipated to be carried out by the newly shaped Goa Mineral Growth Company.

Environmentalist Claude Alvares, who heads the Goa Basis, an NGO which has been maintaining tabs on unlawful mining and looking for judicial intervention in sectoral illegalities for almost twenty years, has urged the state authorities to make sure that the method of e-auctioning by the Company ought to be carried out in a radical method, with out being influenced by mining corporations. He acknowledged that the state’s economic system can not “afford one other catastrophe”.



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