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Goa govt's plan to form corporation to restart mining nothing but 'election gimmick': GMPF president

·2-min read

Panaji, Apr 21 (PTI) The Goa government's proposal to form a state mining corporation to restart mining through auctioning of leases is nothing but 'face saving' and an 'election gimmick' ahead of polls next year, according to an umbrella body of mining dependents GMPF.

Mining and tourism constitutes over 50 per cent of Goa's GDP.

'I think that this is an election gimmick as elections are slated for next year. For this they (government) are preparing ground,' Goa Mining People's Front (GMPF) President Puti Gaonkar said in an interview.

Mining in Goa had come to a standstill in March 2018 when the Supreme Court quashed 88 mining leases Asserting that surface rights of the mines in Goa are with current mine owners, Gaonkar said if the surface rights of the blocks have to be purchased, they have to be bought at more than four times the market rate.

'Most of the mine owners have surface right also and if the government wants to convert the leases into corporation, it has to purchase the surface rights. How much will it cost? According to Supreme Court judgement it is more than four times of the market rate.... Can the government do this? 'According to me, it is nothing but a face saving and election strategy, nothing else,' he said.

Stating that GMPF has welcomed the move of mining corporation from day one, Gaonkar said but it cannot be at the cost of existing labour as well as machinery, truck and barge owners.

'If the government wants to do the corporation, they should come with how they are going to do it. Whether they are going to take over existing labour force, whether they are going to take over existing mine machinery...How they are going to do it?' he asked.

He also pointed at the delays on the part of the government for the formation of the corporation and sought clarity from the state whether it would be 'corporation of 88 leases or the corporation of entire (mines in) Goa.' Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had earlier proposed to form a Goa Mining Corporation to resume iron ore extraction and export activities, which have been stalled following the Supreme Court order. PTI SID SID ABM ABM