Amending lease law can help resume Goa mining: Expert

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Panaji, July 28 (IANS) Mining, banned in Goa since March, can resume immediately if the Centre amends a 1987 law to convert perpetual leases to ancestors of current leaseholders into leases for 50 years from 1987 onwards, former Mining Engineers Association of India President T. Victor said on Saturday.

Victor, who was member of a delegation that on Saturday submitted suggestions to the state on resumption of mining, said that amending the Goa, Daman and Diu (Abolition of Concession and Declaration as Mining Leases) Act, 1987, will help ensure quick resumption of mining in Goa.

A 2012 ban was lifted by the apex court in 2014, but the apex court imposed another ban on extraction and transportation of iron ore from 88 leased mines this year while criticising the Goa government for messing up the lease renewal processes. The state was asked to re-issue the leases.

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Before Goa was liberated by the Indian armed forces in 1961, mining leases in Goa were perpetual concessions granted by the Portuguese colonisists for exploration and exploitation of mines.

The Supreme Court, in its February 2018 order, held that any mining carried out since 2007, the year the Act of 1987 lapsed, was illegal.

Victor claimed that by amending the retrospective effect clause in the 1987 law and issuance of leases from 1987 itself would ensure that the current mining leases are valid till 2037.

He said that under international laws, it was not a correct practice on part of the government of India to “snatch away” the perpetual mining concessions granted by the Portuguese colonists.

“The government cannot snatch away such rights. The mining concessions were given in perpetuity. There was a time when (Goa) had to fall in line with other parts of the country, so the government wanted that (mining concessions) as mining leases,” he said.

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