Gadkari to visit Goa, interact with mining stakeholders: Minister

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Panaji, March 15 (IANS) Union Minister Nitin Gadkari will visit Goa on March 20 to interact with the stakeholders in the mining industry in a bid to resolve the crisis triggered by a Supreme Court ordered ban on all mining in the coastal state, Goa Minister Sudin Dhavalikar said on Thursday.

“Gadkari ji will be in Goa for one day, during which he will listen to the issues raised by those dependant on the mining industry. The central government has assured us that a solution will be found to restart mining at the earliest in the state,” Public Works Department Minister Dhavalikar told reporters here.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is in the US for advanced treatment of pancreatic cancer, on Thursday endorsed the recommendation of a three-member committee of Ministers, including Dhavalikar, on filing a review petition in the Supreme Court to seek resumption of mining until the formalities for the auction of Goa’s mining sites are completed.

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Last month, the apex court ordered an end to mining at 88 leased sites in Goa from March 15 and directed the state government to issue fresh leases, after completing the necessary environment-related formalities.

An amendment to the Mines and Minerals Regulation and Development Act in 2016 has made auctioning of natural resources mandatory.

The apex court’s decision has triggered a rift in the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition in Goa, with several ruling party legislators accusing both the state and central governments of betraying the interests of the people dependent on mining in Goa, by not working quickly enough to prevent iron ore extraction from shutting down on March 15.

This week, three MPs from Goa, including Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik, had met BJP President Amit Shah and Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari (Shipping) and Narendra Singh (Mines) to urge for a solution to the mining imbroglio, which the Goan lawmakers claim will impact the livelihood of over one lakh people.

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–IANS

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