Monday , 18 February 2019

Mining lease allotment to begin by month-end: CM

PANAJI: A day after the state cabinet approved the Goa Grant of Mining Leases Policy 2014, for allotment of the mining leases in the state, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the allotment process including the signing of the mining leases between the prospective leaseholders and the government will commence later this month and will continue till the year-end so that mining activities in Goa can start at the beginning of the new year.
“I am soon proceeding to Maharashtra for participating in the election campaign of the Bharatiya Janata Party, in view of the assembly election in that state scheduled on October 15,” the Chief Minister informed a group of pressmen, pointing out that soon after his return to Goa, the government will start the exercise of lease allotment.
Parrikar, who holds the mines and geology portfolio, further said that the government had ruled out the option of auctioning mining leases as there was a possibility of the previous mining leaseholders, who had already paid stamp duty to the government towards these leases, approaching the court, in case of the auctioning exercise. “The government has also ensured that the policy is legally strong and safe,” he added.
Speaking further, the Chief Minister said that the leases named in the Shah Commission Report or Public Accounts Committee Report for violation of Section 37 (transfer of lease) and Section 38 (amalgamation) of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, would be considered on their individual merit. “Most of the 27 mining leases, whose stamp duties have been paid do not fall in the buffer zone of the protected areas such as wildlife sanctuaries,” he said, adding that however, if they are responsible for some minor violation like say non-payment of the cess pertaining to mineral ore transport, the government can give a green signal to their renewal after due recovery of the said amount.
The Chief Minister also hoped that a special leave petition filed in the Supreme Court by a local NGO, seeking a stay on the High Court order, which directs the government to renew 27 mining leases that have paid stamp duty, will not come in the way of the lease allotment process as per the Goa Grant of Mining Leases Policy 2014. “We have formulated the policy by strictly following all Supreme Court guidelines and directions,” he added.
Some 90-odd mining leases are under the zone of consideration for their allotment, while around 460 lease applications have been cancelled or lapsed.
The policy, as approved by the cabinet, will soon be notified after legal and financial vetting by the law and finance departments, respectively.

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