Start mining, Goa CM tells mining companies

Panaji, Aug 15 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Saturday exhorted mine owners in Goa to emulate Vedanta Resources and start mining operations to increase state revenues and create more jobs.

“This act by Vedanta gives me support and encouragement. I appeal to other mine owners to emulate Vedanta… and despite the lack of profits like in the past, they should start mining in the interest of the state,” Parsekar said in his speech during the Independence Day celebrations in the state capital.

Mining in Goa was stopped both by the state government as well as the central government in 2012 following a Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scam which was unearthed by a judicial commission appointed by the union mines ministry, before the Supreme Court eventually banned all mining activity in the same year and instituted a probe by its own Empowered Committee.

The ban was eventually lifted last year, but mining still could not be restarted because of pending green clearances.

From the 80 plus mining leases, which have been renewed by the state government since the ban, Vedanta Resource-owned Sesa Iron ore was the first company to start mining operations last week, barely days after Parsekar in his speech in the Goa legislative assembly said that mine owners should look at resuming mining by October 2015.

“We wanted mine owners to start mining despite the slack of the international prices (of iron ore). I cannot not mention Vedanta here today. When a chief minister said that mines should be started in October, 2015, Vedanta went one step ahead and started mining in August,” Parsekar said, patting the company for the promptness.

“The mine owners should stand by the government. Everyone, including small and the old have the responsibility to stand by the government and mine owners are not an exception to this,” Parsekar said, adding that the state government had lost a lot of revenue due to the mining ban, while the stoppage of the mining sector had resulted in unemployment.

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