Will urge Centre to withdraw ore export duty: Goa CM

Panaji, Oct 19 (IANS) The Goa government will lobby with the central government to withdraw the 10 percent export duty on iron ore to ensure export of the natural resource became more viable, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said on Monday.

“We will request the central government to withdraw this duty,” Parsekar told reporters on the sidelines of an event organised by Sesa Sterlite, which exported the first consignment of iron ore to China since mining in Goa resumed following a two-year Supreme Court ban on the activity.

Duty on iron ore export was pegged at 30 percent a year ago, but was slashed by 20 per cent following demands by the iron ore industry in Goa, which tops the list of iron ore-exporting Indian states.

Last week, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar also said he will request the commerce ministry to do away with the remaining 10 percent export duty, in order to incentivise the iron ore industry, which is facing a fall in global prices of the ore.

The chief minister flagged off the first export shipment of 90,000 tonnes of iron ore (57 grade) from the Goa port.

Following a Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scam unearthed in Goa in 2012 by a judicial commission appointed by the union mines ministry, the Supreme Court banned all mining activity in the same year following a PIL by Goa Foundation represented by noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

All top mining companies were indicted in the mining scam exposed by the Justice M.B. Shah Commission, which pointed out to a politician-bureaucrat-mining companies nexus.

The ban was eventually lifted in 2014, but mining activity was resumed eventually in 2015 due to logistical issues and due to time taken by the mining companies to obtain necessary permissions and licences for resumption of excavation.

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