Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday said that the state has to restart its mining industry at the earliest in order to survive the jolt caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This statement comes after a meeting with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and top officials at the Raj Bhavan, where Malik took stock of the economy of the state.
Malik stated that mining activities have halted since 2018 after the Supreme Court quashed 88 mining leases. He added that the government has to fast-track the proposal before the Central government for resumption of mining leases by way of legislative cure in the form of an amendment to the mining law.
The Governor also expressed concern about the severe impact of the viral pandemic on the tourism industry in Goa, which is considered as one of the mainstays of the local economy. He added that the government should also focus on the tourism industry by reinventing its identity as a prime tourist destination for rich culture, heritage, architecture and culinary aspects.
Earlier, Goa's Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar said, that the tourism department will seek financial help from the Centre for the industry stakeholders to overcome the crisis they are facing due to the coronavirus outbreak. Ajgaonkar also said that his department has written to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, seeking help for the tourism industry from the Prime Minister's relief fund for COVID-19.
Ajgaonkar said the coronavirus outbreak happened at a time when the coastal state had managed to get back its tourism industry on track after the global slump. "But, because of COVID-19, we will again have to start from zero. Till all airports and other routes are opened tourism cannot re-start in the state, he said.
Nearly 80 lakh tourists visit Goa every year, he claimed, adding that till the situation does not normalise at the national level, the coastal state's borders will continue to remain sealed.