Goa delegation to meet Ministers over mining ban deadline

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Panaji, March 1 (IANS) With all mining activity in Goa scheduled to end after March 15 following an apex court order, state MLAs cutting across party lines on Thursday resolved to meet Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Nitin Gadkari to ensure mining operations aren’t temporarily disbanded after the deadline.

The BJP-led coalition government’s seniormost Cabinet Minister Sudin Dhavalikar said an all-party delegation from Goa would meet the two on Monday in Delhi.

“We have fixed appointments with Union Minister for Mines Narendra Singh Tomar and Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. We hope to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked our South Goa MP Narendra Sawaikar to secure an appointment with him,” Dhavalikar told reporters at the Secretariat late on Thursday after chairing an all-party meeting.

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On February 7, the Supreme Court cancelled all existing iron ore mining leases in Goa and ordered that the mining tracts should be leased afresh to new licencees after obtaining new environmental clearances.

As per the order, all ore extraction activity on the renewed leases should cease after March 15.

Goa is the country’s leading exporter of low-grade iron ore of nearly 50 million tonnes before the Shah Commission in 2012 exposed a Rs 35,000 crore illegal mining scam, triggering a ban on mining in the state.

The ban was later revoked in 2014, but only after the Supreme Court laid down strict conditions.

Dhavlikar said the lawmakers will also urge the central government to announce a compensation package for workers in the mining industry, in case mining stops after March 15.

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–IANS

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