In an attempt to resume mining activities in the state, the Goa administration has written a 'special letter' to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Cabinet urging to alter the Goa Daman and Diu (Abolition of Concession and Declaration as Mining Leases) Act, 1987.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Saturday informed that the administration has also written to Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Mines Minister Prahlad Joshi suggesting legislative and judicial cure to resume mining activities. The state has been declared COVID-19 free by the Centre with the last case being reported on April 3.
The holders of the defunct leases after the Supreme Court's verdict in 2007 which held that any mining carried out since 2007, as well as the state government, argue that doing away with the retrospective clause in the Goa Daman and Diu (Abolition of Concession and Declaration as Mining Leases) act, 1987, would extend the validity of the leases to 2037, and ensure quick resumption of mining, as against going through the time-consuming process of conducting auctioning of the leases or setting up a government corporation to harvest the ore.
Earlier, Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik on Tuesday urged Home Minister Amit Shah to look into the resumption of mining in the state. He said that it was imperative to resurrect the mining sector at the earliest.
"Pursuant to the apex court order, dated February 7, 2018, the mining in the state came to a halt, which caused around Rs 2,000 crore loss of revenue. More than 1.5 lakh people, who were directly or indirectly dependent on mining, lost their source of livelihood," Malik said in a letter to Shah.
The mining issue has been hanging on fire since the apex court banned extraction and transport of iron ore from 88 mining leases in February 2018, but also directed the state government to reissue leases. The is the second time in less than a decade that mining activities in the state has come to a standstill.
The central government, last year, had formed a Group of Ministers under Amit Shah to resolve the mining deadlock, but it failed to make much of a headway as far as the resumption of the industry is concerned.