Looking to restore Goa's mining 'mojo' soon: Goyal

Piyush Goyal. (PTI File Photo)

The centre as well as the state government are working in tandem to ensure that Goa's 'mojo', the mining industry in the state which has been paralysed due to closure by the Supreme Court of India, can be revived at the earliest.

Union Trade and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said on Saturday.

Goyal who was in Goa to attend an ongoing investment conclave 'Vibrant Goa', also said that it was time to start a mass movement against non-government organisations who block development works.

"Minerals is a sector, I think we should work together along with the judiciary to find an early resolution to the problem. Both governments in Delhi and in Panaji are very keen to resolve the mineral issue and we are working to find a solution. I do hope that in the near future we can quickly resolve the issue so that the mojo, the large economic activity that the mineral industry will provide to Goa, will come back very quickly," Goyal said.

The BJP-led coalition government is Goa under pressure to restart the mining industry, which has been banned for more than a year now, after the apex court found gross irregularities in the renewal of mining leases carried out by the state government. The central government has already formed a Group of Ministers headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah to resolve the deadlock.

Goyal also lashed out at NGOs and blamed them for creating legal impediments and delaying the construction of the upcoming Mopa greenfield airport, which is being carried out by the GMR Group, in partnership with the Goa government.

"And I think it’s high time that there’s a mass movement of the people of India and the people of Goa who oppose these forces, who are not allowing development to happen in Goa, who are not allowing good roads, who are not allowing good hotels, who are not allowing good airports, who are not allowing the expansion of the port," the Union minister said.

"Frankly, I heard that the airport is under some litigation and it’s gone to the court. I don’t mind on the public platform to fold my hands and appeal to those NGOs and those few people who are coming in the path of development, who are not helping Goa grow, who are not helping the cause of the people of Goa by this form of litigation," Goyal said, calling it the "worst form of obstructing justice for the poor of India, for providing a better quality of life for the poor people".

Construction at the Mopa airport has been delayed, after green activists approached the judiciary alleging massive felling of trees at the airport site, without adequate permissions from government agencies. The first phase of the airport is expected to be operational from 2022.

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