Free Press Journal

Goa to urge Centre to lift suspension on green clearance


Panaji: The Goa government will write to the union environment and forests ministry to revoke the suspension of green clearances to the state’s mining leases in order to spur the restarting of iron ore mines, which have been non-operational for more than two years, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said Friday.

A day after lifting the more than two-year-old order temporarily suspending mining operations in Goa, Parsekar replied in the affirmative when asked if his government would write to the central government to lift the suspension of environment clearances to all mines operating in Goa back in 2012.

“Yes, we will do that,” said Parsekar, also the mines minister.

As environment and forests minister in the erstwhile central government, Jayanthi Natarajan had suspended green clearances to all iron ore mines in Goa following the Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scam exposed by the Justice M.B. Shah Commission of Enquiry.

The combination of the state government’s temporary suspension of mining activity, combined with a subsequent order by the union environment and forests ministry suspending all environment clearances to mining activity in Goa and topped by the Supreme Court ban had resulted in chaos in the state’s multi-billion dollar mining sector, nearly a third of which — according to Shah’s findings — is illegal.

Parsekar, however, was unable to give an exact date when mining operations would restart in Goa, even as the petition challenging the Goa government’s decision to renew over 80 mining leases to the same companies involved in the alleged scam is pending with the Supreme Court.

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