Panaji, July 7 (IANS) The Central and Goa governments are working in tandem to work out ways to restart the banned mining industry in the state, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said on Saturday, adding that the situation in the state was unique and needed a solution in sync with the law as well as the Supreme Court’s 2018 ban order.
Asked if auctioning of mining leases in the state was one of the options being considered as a solution, he said that all issues were being examined.
“We are very committed to solving the mining issue. The Chief Minister (Pramod Sawant) has had several meetings with our leadership in Delhi. He has had several meeting with the PM on this issue. It is a very difficult issue, which has to be resolved within the framework of the law,” said Goyal, who was in Goa to kickstart the party’s state unit’s membership drive.
“The Legal Department in Goa and the Law Ministry in Delhi are working together to see how we can find a solution,” he added.
The mining issue has been hanging fire in Goa, every since the apex court banned extraction and transportation of iron ore from 88 mining leases from March 2018, while also directing the state government to re-issue mining leases.
The is the second time is less than a decade that all mining in the state has come to a standstill.
While the state government has expressed keenness in renewing the mining leases in favour of the existing leaseholders, the Central government’s major minerals mining policy advocates auctioning of all natural resources.
Goyal admitted that Goa’s mining imbroglio was unique.
“… the Supreme Court had earlier ordered that all natural resources of the country have to be auctioned. This was the order in the wake of the massive Coalgate scam, which the Congress and UPA had indulged in, in which they had given away large amount of mines to select parties.
“But Goa has a peculiar situation where mining has been going on for so many years. These are not any new mines, so we have to find a solution within the ambit of the law, recognising and respecting the Supreme Court judgement and the unique position of Goa,” he said.
Specifically asked if auctioning of Goa’s mining leases was an option being considered, Goyal said: “We are examining all these issue and when we come to the right solution respecting the law, we will come back to you and appraise you of the situation.”