Free Press Journal

Goa Budget may offer succour to people hit by mining closure


Panaji: The forthcoming Budget (2014 15) is likely to provide a much-needed respite to people reeling under the ban for over a year on mining activity in the coastal state, with Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today hinting at a slew of bailout measures being on the anvil.

These measures may bail out those people whose assets, like trucks and barges, are turned into liabilities since the interim ban by the Supreme Court on mining activity in the coastal state.

The Budget will be presented before the Legislative Assembly on March 5.

“This time schemes for those people would be Capex-based, which will help them in clearing off their liabilities,” Parrikar told reporters after holding a meeting with bankers here.

The bankers are currently staring at the loan liability to the tune of Rs 850-900 crore to mining-dependent people, with interest alone mounting to Rs 150-180 crore.

Parrikar told bankers they can work out to liquidate the liability in a “peaceful manner” by offering incentives like waiving the interest and part-principle amount due to debtors.

“The government may step in to help banks to liquidate the liability,” Parrikar said.

Sources said Parrikar’s statement hints at the schemes that are likely on cards on providing finance to people affected by closure of mining so as to help them repay their debt.

The chief minister said most of the assets have turned into junk as they have not been used for a long period of time, and additional investment is required to get them working.

“Of the total 250 barges, only 75-80 (barges) are in working condition. Similar is the case with trucks,” he said.

The state government expects the mining stake-holders to start getting at least minimum business soon as the ore which was lying at jetties is being e-auctioned on the guidelines by the apex court.

The barges are needed to transport this ore, which would be transported from jetties to the port.

“We can be guarantor for the bank, if the truck owner or barge operator requires finance to restart his assets,” Parrikar said.

The Chief Minister said in the next two-three days, the banks will hand over to state government a rough draft of the bailout package for the mining-affected people “so that state government can provide counter measures in forthcoming budget”.