Goa to auction mines, start mining corporation soon: CM

Goa to auction mines, start mining corporation soon, says CM Pramod Sawant

Sawant also said that he was not to blame for the nearly year-long delay in filing the review petition

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. Credit: PTI Photo

On a day when the Supreme Court of India dismissed review petitions filed by the Goa government and a private company related to the resumption of mining activity in the state, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday said that his government was in the process of forming a state mining corporation and said that the process of auctioning mining leases afresh would be started soon.

Sawant also said that he was not to blame for the nearly year-long delay in filing the review petition -- one of the grounds cited by the court to dismiss the pleas -- stating that by the time he took charge as Chief Minister in March 2019, more than a year had already passed since the apex court's order scrapping all operational mining leases in the state.

"Despite the fact that the review petitions have been dismissed, we will be passing the Mining Corporation Bill in the upcoming Assembly session. Mining will be started in a big way through the corporation and auctioning of leases will also be carried out, after exploration of the leases by the Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (a central government agency)," Sawant said.

"Mining will be started at the earliest. The government is serious about it," Sawant said.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Supreme court bench comprising of Justices Dr Dhananjay Chandrachud and M R Shah passed a judgment dismissing petitions filed by the Goa government and a top mining company, Vedanta Resources Ltd, seeking a review of the apex Court's 2018 judgement, which had scrapped renewal of 88 mining leases in the state citing irregularities in the process.

The order had also slammed the petitioners for filing the petitions after nearly two years of the Supreme Court judgement, while also hauling them for filing the petitions after the retirement of Supreme Court judges Madan Lokur and Deepak Gupta, the authors of the 2018 judgement.

Mining resumption has been a key issue for the upcoming 2022 state Assembly polls and the Opposition has now accused the ruling BJP-led coalition government of trying to raise expectations related to mining resumption ahead of local elections.

"They are fooling the people by giving false promises on restarting mining whenever elections approach. People should now understand the real game plan of the BJP and teach them a lesson," Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat said.

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