Panaji: Goa's multi-million dollar iron ore mining industry will be operational within "two to three months", Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said on Friday after conducting his first cabinet meeting.
"Mining will start in Goa after two to three months," Parsekar said in response to a query from reporters.
Mining had been banned in Goa by the Supreme Court for over 18 months, before the apex court, while lifting the ban in April this year, had asked the state government to formulate a policy for resumption of legal mining.
Resumption of mining however dragged further even as the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government government choose to renew over a dozen mining leases to same operators who have been linked to a Rs 35,000 crore illegal mining scam, instead of auctioning the leases as advocated by the party in its manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha poll.
The government's renewal of leases, to companies accused of carrying out illegal mining, has now been challenged in the Supreme Court by a green NGO, whose petition had resulted in the ban on the mining industry in 2012 in the first place.
Parsekar now said that the government had renewed mining leases in favour of the dozen odd companies and that it was up to the latter to get required permissions from central government agencies like the Indian Bureau of Mines, and union ministry for environment and forests.
"We have granted renewal, now it is entirely up to them to them to get the NOCs (no objection certificates) and start mining," Parsekar said.