Three-time MLA and Senior BJP leader Pramod Sawant on March 28 said that his government will focus on restarting mining activities in Goa, as he took oath as the state's Chief Minister for the second term. It has been four years since mining was stopped in Goa.
"We will focus on employment generation, tourism and restarting mining activities in Goa, in this second tenure of our government here," ANI tweeted, quoting CM Pramod Sawant.
We will focus on employment generation, tourism and restarting mining activities in Goa, in this second tenure of our government here: CM Pramod Sawant pic.twitter.com/SkN4iDFRHn
— ANI (@ANI) March 28, 2022
The iron ore industry in Goa came to a standstill after the Supreme Court quashed 88 mining leases in February 2018. It is said the closure has affected the livelihoods of over three lakh mining dependents in the state and also over 75,000 jobs. In early 2021, the Supreme Court had dismissed petitions filed by the state government and a private mining company seeking review of a February 2018 order of the apex court.
In the run-up to the 2022 state elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Pramod Sawant-led state government made a slew of announcements towards resuming iron ore mining in the western Indian coastal state and spoke about a policy that would facilitate the auction of low-grade iron ore.
Senior BJP leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah, had assured a solution within six months resolving the Goa mining stalemate during the recent election campaigning.
Also Read: Mining on the shifty sands of Goan politics
Recently, Industry associations in Goa have pitched for the resumption of sustainable mining in the state, saying the ban on mining has adversely impacted livelihoods. CII as an apex industry body strongly recommended the resumption of sustainable mining to bring Goa's economy back on track. CII Goa State Council Chairperson Swati Salgaocar said mining is a source of revenue not only to the government but also to many secondary and tertiary industries in Goa.
The Goa Mining People's Front (GMPF), which represents the cause of lakhs of people employed in the mining sector, on March 15 said it has appealed to the central government to facilitate the immediate resumption of mining in Goa. GMPF President Puti Gaonkar said the elections are now over and concrete solutions need to be discussed across the table along with concerned stakeholders including employees, truck owners, barge owners, and mining service providers.
The developments come at a time when the mining ban in Goa has completed four years.
Mining was also halted by the apex court in 2012, after the Justice MB Shah Commission exposed a Rs 35,000 crore illegal mining scam which indicted nearly all mining companies in Goa.