Goa’s economy should be factored in for mines closure: Parrikar

Panaji, Feb 14 (IANS) Even as Goa readies for closure of its iron ore mines next month, following a Supreme Court order, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said it is not possible for governments to suddenly disrupt the economic trajectory of a state and all stakeholders, including the judiciary, will have to take that into consideration vis-a-vis decision-making.

“Without going into the merits of the judgement,… Goa is facing economic problems — is a fact,” the Chief Minister said.

“Now all stakeholders, including the judiciary will have to take into consideration economic trajectory. It is not possible for governments to suddenly disrupt the economic trajectory,” Parrikar told reporters.

His comment came as Goa readied for closure of its 88 iron ore mines in March following the cancellation of their leases by the Supreme Court on February 7.

Cancelling the leases of all existing iron ore mines in Goa the apex court ordered that the mining tracts should be leased afresh to new licencees after obtaining new environmental clearances.

Addressing a press conference after meeting with a cross-section of legislators, Parrikar also said that a final decision on the resumption of mining and mode of leasing of the mines will be taken in 15-20 days.

The Chief Minister, however, said that the economic impact of the closure would not be as much as it was in 2012, when iron ore export was at its peak.

“The revenue from last year (from mining sector) will not exceed Rs 300 crore (in direct revenue), indirect (revenue) maybe around Rs 50 to Rs 100 crore. So Rs 300 crore in a total net budgetary size of Rs 10,000 crore. Financially it is three to four per cent,” Parrikar said.

The country’s leading exporter of low-grade iron ore, Goa, exported nearly 50 million tonnes before the Shah Commission in 2012 exposed a Rs 35,000 crore scam, triggering a ban on mining in the state.

The top court in February cancelled all those leases that were again renewed for 20 years from 2007.

Observing that all these leases were renewed “hastily” and were “illegal”, the top court ordered that all ore extraction activity on the renewed leases should cease by March 15.

The Chief Minister also chided the media for indulging in speculations.

“Once we have a policy (on mining) we will tell you. Until then you keep speculating. It is a good business for you to go on speculating. We have not taken any decision… It will be finalised after discussion. I will take 15-20 days…” Parrikar said.

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