Coming out with the revelation that there are no illegal mines in Goa, however, as and when unauthorised extraction is noticed, action is initiated against the defaulters, the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar informed the state assembly on Monday
PANAJI: Coming out with the revelation that there are no illegal mines in Goa, however, as and when unauthorised extraction is noticed, action is initiated against the defaulters, the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar informed the state assembly on Monday that a team of chartered accountants would be constituted with the advice of the state unit of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India for undertaking the audit of the returns related to all ore exports vis-à-vis mine extraction in Goa, during past five-six years.
"Goa has experienced exports of around 4 to 5 million tonnes of ore every year, which had no legal source," the Chief Minister said, pointing out that the government therefore needs experts, who would be able to help it in matching such export figures.
"The team of chartered accountants will help the government in scrutinising such returns during past half-a-decade," he noted.
Addressing a query from the Dabolim MLA, Mr Mauvin Godinho, during the question hour, the Chief Minister, who also holds the mining portfolio, said the government is also trying to come out with the draft mining policy for the state by the end of this month. "This draft mining policy, which will have clear-cut say about employment in mining sector, besides mining dumps, forests, environment, protection to the water sources and excess mining, will be kept open for general public as well as the MLAs for a period of 30 days, so as to invite suggestions from them," he informed, adding that the final policy -- Goa Mining Policy -- would be released a week after the deadline for accepting suggestions for draft mining policy ends.
Admitting that unless there is a state mining policy, the government cannot stop illegal extractions from the mines, the Chief Minister said, "We will ensure that not only the money lost by the government through illegal extractions and exports will be recovered, but there would be penalties imposed on those responsible for the same."
"However, we have to first identify the sources of such illegalities," Mr Parrikar maintained, assuring "I promise this House that before the end of the ongoing financial year, the government would clearly identify the people who carried out mining without proper documentation or have not paid royalties on the exported ore."
"I assure action on them, and once they go inside (the prison), they would find it very difficult to come out," he stated.
Replying to a supplementary question, the Chief Minister further said that at least 60 per cent of the money received by the government through mining, in the form of revenue would be used in the mining belts. "The money, which would be needed to be spent on the proposed mining corridor in the state, will also be raised from the mine owners," he informed, mentioning that the government will create a separate development fund, and then formulate a mechanism for spending this fund on the mining belt.
Finally, musing over the mining issue, the Chief Minister said that in order to move the focus of the state economy from mining to agriculture, there needs to be a sustainable effort, which would be visible in the Goa mining policy.
"The policy will therefore have a short-term spectrum of one-year period, mid-term spectrum of five years and long-term spectrum of 20 years," he concluded.