Restart mining in Goa earliest: Governor writes to Shah

Restart mining earliest; Goa economy in tatters: Governor writes to Amit Shah

Representative image/Reuters Photo

With the state's tourism battered due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Goa's economy on the brink of collapse, Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik on Tuesday, knocked on the doors of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, urging him to find a way to restart the state's non-functional mining sector at the earliest.

Malik's letter to Shah, comes at a time when the state's iron ore exporters have been claiming, that resumption of the mining industry would revive industry in Goa, as well as help the cash-strapped state earn the much needed revenue, especially with the tourism industry in shambles on account of the global pandemic.

"The present outbreak of COVID-19 has severely dented the other mainstay of our economy i.e. tourism industry, thereby bringing the state economy to a near collapse," Malik has stated in his letter to the Union Home Minister on Tuesday.

"More than 1.5 lakh people who were directly or indirectly dependent on mining lost their source of livelihood," Shah also said, adding that the state had to suffer a loss of Rs. 2,000 in revenue in two years on account of the non functional sector, which was banned by a Supreme Court order in 2018, following alleged irregularities in the mining lease renewal processes.
The apex court in its order, had directed the Goa government to re-issue the mining leases afresh, but pressure from the existing mining lease holders to renew the leases in their favour, has stalled the efforts.

The Goa government after more than a year has been tinkering with the idea of forming a state government-run corporation to run the mining industry, even as the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant-led administration subsequently also filed a review petition before the apex court, urging the Supreme Court for a re-look at its 2018 order banning the mining industry.

At its peak, the mining industry which exported over 50 million tons of iron ore primarily to China, account for nearly 30 per cent of Goa’s GDP.

The Goa governor recently also met Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Chief Secretary Parimal Rai at Raj Bhavan recently to discuss the mining issue. "I had suggested in the meeting that with the collapse of the tourism industry in the state, it has become utmost important to pursue the matter of resumption of mining in the state with central government and the focus should be on legislative cure," Malik also said in is letter to Shah.