Free Press Journal

Goa mining industry should restart soon to save jobs: Experts


Panaji: The Goa government should expedite processes for resuming mining in the state as several lakhs of youth are jobless after closure of the industry almost two years ago, experts said today.

“More than a month has passed since the Supreme Court order lifted the mining ban in Goa but there is still no clear picture when exactly mining would commence,” Goa’s first IAS officer (now retired) and former Chairman of the Mormugao Port Trust Aravind Bhatikar said.

In a recent judgement, the Supreme Court had allowed mining in the state with several riders, leaving it for the Goa state government to resume mining.

While lifting the mining ban, the Supreme Court had observed that mining concessions became leases of leasees in Goa on November 22, 1987 and with the 20-year maximum renewal period had also come to an end on November 22, 2007.

“Since leasees have to follow many procedures with Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF), Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) and other agencies of the Goa state government to get all required permission, licences and consents, it is absolutely necessary to expedite the process of granting leases,” Bhatikar said.

“If these things are not initiated immediately, it may take a long time before mining operations could resume in Goa,” he said.

Echoing views, former DG of Directorate General of Mines Safety Satish Puri said that mining is a highly regulated industry in India, dependent on various permissions and clearances.

“Mining is characterised by high income generators for the state, which requires stable and long period policies from the state, for inclusive growth,” he said.

“If leases are renewed today, getting go ahead from clearing agencies like IBM and pollution control boards would take more than three months in the most optimistic scenario.

“Add to this additional responsibilities given to the state government by the Supreme Court to ensure sustainable mining. So the right time to renew leases is now, so that things get into motion and by October, actual mining can start,” Puri said.

Resumption of mining in a scientific and sustainable manner is in the interest of the state and all stakeholders, he said.

He said that bodies like Goa Mineral Ore Exporters’ Association (GMOEA) should appoint renowned consultancy firms to develop a roadmap for scientific and sustainable transportation.

A transparent dialogue with the state along with stakeholders would go a long way in solving the problem, but this process would have to be speeded up, he said.