Goa govt against resumption of mining activity



Panaji: In a move that spells further trouble for mining industry in Goa, the Manohar Parrikar government has decided not to allow mining activity until findings of the Public Accounts Committee and Justice MB Shah Commission on illegalities are dealt with in accordance with law.

The government has stated this resolve in a confidential Cabinet Note circulated to its members, the copy of which is with a news agency.

The Goa government temporarily suspended all mining activities in the state last month, after an expert panel formed by the federal government found "serious illegalities and irregularities" in mining operations. There's however no ban on the movement of iron ore already produced and stored at ports or in transit.

"State government has proposed not to permit resumption of mining in the State of Goa, till such time as the findings of the Public Accounts Committee and Justice Shah Commission of Inquiry, are adequately remedied and dealt with in accordance with Law," the note reads.

As per the note, the decision about non-resumption is based on the legal opinion given by the state Advocate General.

A high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar decided not to withdraw the suspension till the issues raised by the two committees are taken to their logical end.

Parrikar was the Leader of Opposition when the PAC headed by him exposed largescale illegalities and irregularities in state's iron ore mining industry. A few months later, Justice MB Shah Commission in its report tabled on the floor of the House echoed similar observations.

The state government yesterday appointed Justice (retd) RM Khandeparkar Committee to investigate the illegalities cited by the Shah panel in its report.

Meanwhile, the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA) has termed the setting up of the committee as a move to further delay the resumption of the mining activity.

Parrikar had claimed that his government will allow immediate restarting of mining operations, provided the miners submit all relevant legal documents required for extraction of ore.

GMOEA, which represents majority of the mine owners and exporters, is wary that stoppage of mining activity will spell trouble for the iron ore rich belt, which is entirely dependent on this activity as an economic activity.

"Mining operations in Goa have been kept under suspension for close to a month now and many ancillary units have been having a difficult time and pressing for restarting mines at the earliest," said GMOEA.

PTI