State NCP pins last hopes on Pawar to restart legal mining

PANAJI: The state unit of the Nationalist Congress Party has requested its national party president, Mr Sharad Pawar that he should use his good offices with the Centre to restart the legal mining activities in the state at the earliest, so as to revive the state economy and help the affected stakeholders of the mining industry.

A memorandum signed by the state president of NCP, Mr Surendra Sirsat and forwarded to Mr Pawar further states that legalised mining should however, not cross the export of over 40 million tonnes per year. It also observes that the state government recommends 1 km buffer zone, while the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest swears an affidavit of 10 km buffer zone before the Supreme Court, and if 10 km buffer zone is approved, then the entire mining operations in Goa would come to grinding halt, permanently.

Addressing a press conference at the city NCP office, Mr Sirsat said that although the national general secretary of NCP and the Goa state in-charge of the party, Mr Praful Patel had recently brushed aside the possibility of any central rehabilitation package for the people affected due to closure of mines, the state government should try its best to convince the central government about seriousness of the matter and necessity of such a package. He also maintained that not all transporters linked to mining industry or the mine owners are affected by the shutdown of the mining industry, however, there exists people who are genuine victims of this situation.

The memorandum further stated that the immediate relief, which is expected, is to allow all the existing legal stocks of ore to be exported, presently placed under ban by the Supreme Court. "The NCP also endorses the representation made by the Barge Owners’ Association and Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and requests for the intervention of the Union Finance Ministry to ease out financial miseries of the loanees of the bank involved in the mining operation on humanitarian grounds, and larger interest of the state," it added.

Replying to a question, Mr Sirsat said that the state NCP is ready to be a part of the all party delegation as suggested by the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar, which could approach the Centre for finding a solution to the mining imbroglio. He also stressed on the need for ironing out differences between the state and the Centre over the mining issue.