Panaji: Amending the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR) by the Union cabinet could help to restart the mining industry in Goa at the earliest, the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry said in a petition to Governor Satya Pal Malik on Friday.They urged the Governor to take up the issue with the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in order to bring them relief.
After meeting Malik, head of the GCCI, Manoj Caculo also told reporters, that the trade body had urged the Governor to press upon the PMO and the Union Cabinet to amend the Act and subsequently issue an ordinance to restart the state's mining industry, which would help boost the local economy.
"We want the Governor to press upon the PMO and Central cabinet to take a decision to amend the MMDRA or whatever has to be done to revive the mining industry in Goa. The Goan economic situation is such that no industry is functional, tourism is shut so mining has to start," Caculo told reporters outside the Governor's residence.
Caculo also said that while Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has been talking to the top leaders and officials in the Central government to get the banned industry back on its feet in Goa, the "Governor's word will have weight".
The mining issue has been hanging fire in Goa, ever since the apex court banned extraction and transportation of iron ore from 88 mining leases from February 2018, while also directing the state government to reissue mining leases.
The Goa government has also filed a revision petition in the apex court, urging a relook at the order.
It was the second time in less than a decade that all mining in the state has come to a standstill. It was banned the first time in 2012 after a judicial commission exposed a Rs 35,000 crore illegal mining scam, indicting top mining companies as well as politicians and bureaucrats.
Till some months back, the state government had been actively contemplating formation of a state-run mining corporation as a nodal body to relaunch and oversee mining operations in the state.
While the MMDRA, which was amended by the Central government in 2015, made it mandatory for auctioning of major mineral resources, mining magnates in Goa have argued, that a further amendment allowing for renewal of the mining leases in case of Goa, followed by an ordinance to the effect, would put the mining industry back on track in the coastal state soon.