Current Affairs

Goa Govt Petition at Centre on Mining Lacks Details

The Government of Goa’s request to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take a “pragmatic view” on mining in the state appears to have backfired.

The Prime Minister’s Office has responded that several mining projects have not been cleared, or otherwise, because the state has not submitted required documents to the environment ministry.

In a memorandum to the Prime Minister last month, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had said the ban on mining is damaging the economy of his state, which earns 20 per cent of its GSDP from mining, and endangering livelihood of lakhs of people engaged in the sector.

Parrikar had claimed that the ban, which he estimated to dent the state’s revenue by Rs 6,400 crore, has created an “unprecedented social crisis” due to loss of livelihood and saddled cooperative banks that had lent to the miners with huge credit and non- performing assets, and sought Rs 3,000 crore for rehabilitation of the affected and a special package for the banks.

The memorandum had also asked the Prime Minister to “direct the ministry of mines and the ministry of environment and forests to take a pragmatic view in the matter, including urging the apex court to vacate the blanket ban on mining and permit legal mining in the state at the earliest”.

The PMO responded to the request last week. It pointed out that the environment ministry had set up an Expert Appraisal Committee in March 2013 to examine documents submitted by proponents of mining projects whose environmental clearance have been kept in abeyance. The committee requires proposals from states for notification of Ecologically Sensitive Zones around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries and distances of the periphery of iron ore mines from them.

Though the Goa government had submitted the proposals, it hadn’t provided details of distances so far. That apart, the state had not provided coordinates for points indicated on the boundary of the proposed ecological zones as asked for by the expert panel, the PMO said, and advised the Parrikar government to sent such details at the earliest

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