Discuss mining lease issue with PMO: Goa MLAs to Governor

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Panaji, March 7 (IANS) A delegation of ruling MLAs in Goa met Governor Mridula Sinha on Wednesday and submitted a memorandum urging her to take up the issue of cancellation of 88 mining leases with the PMO and the Union Mines minister.

The closure of mining operations from March 16, as per a Supreme Court order, will spell hardship for a lot of people, Public Works Department Minister Sudin Dhavalikar told reporters after submitting the memorandum at Raj Bhavan near Panaji.

“We are looking to the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) and the Union Mines minister’s office to take a decision and rescue the people linked to the mining industry,” said Dhavalikar, who is part of a three-member committee appointed by ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to govern Goa in his absence.

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On Monday, a multi-party delegation of lawmakers from the state met Union Minister for Shipping Nitin Gadkari and opposed the closure and auctioning of mines, claiming that the process of auctioning was long-winded and that it would take several months for mining to resume, thereby affecting livelihoods.

“If mines are auctioned, mining will be shut down for a year. That is a major problem,” Dhavaliklar said, adding that the court order of closure of mines was only restricted to 88 mining leases and that there were in all around 200 mining leases in Goa.

“Let these 88 mines continue functioning as they are, but the remaining can be auctioned,” Dhavalikar said.

In its order last month, the apex court ordered stoppage of operations in 88 mines in Goa from March 16 and directed the state government to issue fresh leases, after completing the necessary environment-related formalities.

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