Mon, 27 May, 2019

Mining ‘army’ launches strike on govt in Panaji

dependents beat protest drums at Azad Maidan

15th March 2019, 02:13 Hrs

the goan I network

PANAJI

Scores of mining dependents descended in the capital city on Thursday to protest what they claim is the State government’s lack of seriousness in tackling the issue of resumption of operations at the mines, shut since March last year following a Supreme Court decision that cancelled all leases.   

The Supreme Court in February last year while cancelling the mining leases also directed the government to re-issue them. Before Goa’s liberation in 1961, Goa’s mining leases granted by the Portuguese regime were concessions for permanent exploitation. The law although enacted in 1987, it was given retrospective validity as if it came into effect from date Goa was liberated in 1961. The demand of the mining sector is to now similarly apply the law prospectively and extend the validity of the mining leases up to 2037.   

A delegation of the Goa Mining People’s Front led by its convenor Puti Gaonkar also presented a memorandum to the Chief Secretary Parimal Rai which demanded that the State back the case to retrospectively revalidate the mining leases in the Supreme Court.   

More than 2,000 residents from the mining belt marched in Panaji and held a public meeting at the iconic Azad Maidan, training guns at the State government for lack of seriousness.   

Gaonkar, who addressed the rally said the Goa government should file its affidavit before the Supreme Court seeking revalidation of the leases under the Goa, Daman and Diu Mining Leases (Abolition of Mining Concessions and Declaration as Mining Leases) Act 1987.   

Gaonkar said it can by default make iron ore mining leases in Goa valid up to 2037.   

Meanwhile, Gaonkar also 

said that the Goa government should replace its counsel in the Supreme Court alleging that Assistant Solicitor General, Atmaram Nadkarni who represented the case, wants the mining leases auctioned and not renewed.   

Over the last seven years the mining sector, once the mainstay of the State’s economy, has been in turmoil with the Supreme court banning the operation of mines twice - first in 2012 and then in March 2018.   

Post-1961, the concessions were converted into fixed 20-year leases under the MMDR Act, 1954, by enacting the Goa Daman and Diu (Abolition of Concession and Declaration as Mining Leases) Act, 1987. These mining leases however lapsed in 2007.   

Centre working for early resumption of mining, says Cabral

PANAJI: Power Minister Nilesh Cabral said, the Centre’s plea to the Supreme Court to expedite proceedings of a pending litigation filed by a private mining firm - VS Dempo - over its rights on mining leases was a clear and definite positive for the early resumption of mining operations in the State.   

Cabral said, the State government will intervene in the matter and file its say before the Supreme Court at the appropriate juncture.   

He said, the State government is fully seized of the issue in its entirety and will not be lacking in playing its role to ensure mining is resumed at the earliest.