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Goa govt to consider tapping iron ore mines that haven’t been shut down by 2018 SC order in bid to revive key industry

Panaji: The Goa government is mulling tapping the iron ore mines not covered by a 2018 Supreme Court ruling that effectively shut down mining operations in the state, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said.

As many as 88 out of the 300-odd mining leases in Goa have run into legal hurdle, stalling operations in the sector, a key source of livelihood for local people and also revenue for the state government.

 Goa govt to consider tapping iron ore mines that haven’t been shut down by 2018 SC order in bid to revive key industry

File photo of Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant. PTI

Sawant told PTI that while solution for resuming work on the 88 mining leases mired in legal tangle will be explored in the apex court, the industry can be revived by tapping mining leases that do not fall under the ambit of the Supreme Court order.

He said the state government has already begun working with experts to find a legal solution for the current impasse on 88 mining leases arising out of the Supreme Court verdict. Sawant said his government would ensure mining starts through legally-approved waysso that there are no more impediments to the industry's functioning.

The apex court, through its order in February 2018, had quashed the second renewal of 88 iron ore mining leases given to companies in Goa in 2015. This verdict had brought the entire mining industry to a halt and affected the livelihood of around two lakh people. Goa has a total of 334 mining leases in existence.

Sawant said his government in working on an action plan to restart the mining industry, but declined to provide details. "If I tell you what we are planning to do, those who dont want mining to restart will be proactive. Those who want the industry to resume should have faith in me. We are giving our 100 percent to restart the mining industry in the state," the chief minister said.

Sawant said the anger of mining dependents towards the state government for failing to resume operations has subsided after he took charge in mid-March. "They have faith in me that I will be solving the issue of the mining industry. We are already on it," he said.

The resumption of mining was a major issue during the Lok Sabha polls in Goa which voted on 23 April. The Goa Mining Peoples Front, an organisation of mining dependents, had appealed to people not to vote for BJP candidates, accusing the party of failing to provide solution to the impasse in the industry.

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Updated Date: May 10, 2019 16:14:14 IST