Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said that the amendment to the Goa, Daman and Diu Mining Concession (Abolition and Declaration as Leases) Act, 1987 is the only solution for resumption of iron ore mining in Goa.
Replying to demand for grants on mining in the state assembly, Parrikar said that the Goa government cannot resolve the mining issue, but will require the central government’s support to amend the Goa, Daman and Diu Mining Concession (Abolition and Declaration as Leases) Act, 1987 in the Parliament.
“I can see only solution to the mining problem is amendment to the Goa, Daman and Diu Mining Concession (Abolition and Declaration as Leases) Act, 1987 as suggested by MLA Nilesh Cabral. So, with this solution we can go to the Centre and urge it to carry out the amendment to the Act. And, we can get solution from the Centre provided Congress supports the particular amendment in the Parliament,” he said, adding that the final call on the matter will be taken on August 3 after listening to
more views of all the MLAs during discussion on private member resolution on the issue.
The Chief Minister maintained that the state should look for a long-lasting solution to the mining imbroglio and not a temporary solution, as the mining operations have been shut down due to the Supreme Court order.
Speaking on the recovery of losses due to illegal mining, Parrikar said that the Public Accounts Committee headed by him had estimated a loss of around Rs 4,000 crore in 2011. He said the team of the Chartered Accountants appointed by the government had estimated a loss of Rs 1,508 crore and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India reported an estimated loss of Rs 1,922 crore due to illegal mining.
“We have recovered Rs 300 crore by auctioning material and freezing bank accounts of some culprits. The government has also got revenue of Rs 1,241 crore from e-auctioning of iron ore besides another Rs 1,042 crore through auctioning of materials, Rs 454 crore through royalty totalling Rs 1,487 crore. Out of this, Rs 250 crore has been paid back to the ore extractors,” he said.
Replying to demand for grants on finance, the Chief Minister claimed that the financial position of the government is good inspite of mining ban because the state loan to GSDP ratio is below 20 per cent and the norm is 25 per cent. He said that the government has also spent a large amount on capital expenditure. “Last year, we had a borrowing limit of Rs 2,100 crore, but borrowed only Rs 1,600 crore. This year, our borrowing limit is Rs 2,668 crore. However, I am planning to control it within Rs 1,800 crore,” the Chief Minister said.
Stating that inspite of all this, buoyancy in the revenue collection is substantially good, Parrikar said that the government has been able to spend almost Rs 700 crore on infrastructure development before the end of July which will make for an average of Rs 2,300 crore for the whole year. Parrikar further said that though some are saying that per capita loan is Rs 88 crore, it is also important to note that our per capita income is more than Rs 4.65 lakh. He said that under the Chief Minister’s Rojgar Yojana, the Economic Development Corporation has succeeded in creating around 8,000 entrepreneurs in the state.
Speaking on excise, the Chief Minister said that the government has so far succeeded in granting relief to 80 per cent of the liquor outlets and the issue of another 15 per cent will be resolved soon.
“A total of 3,210 liquor outlets were closed down in the state after the Supreme Court order. So far, we have given permits to almost 80 per cent of the cases and the issue of only 511 outlets remains. And I can say that another 15 per cent of the outlets will get permits soon. We will not be able to do anything for the remaining 5 per cent outlets,” he said.
Parrikar said that the excise department is keeping a tight vigil on all the borders of the state which resulted in an increase in the excise revenue by 27.73 per cent last year. He said that last year, the recovery of Goods and Services Tax (GST) was Rs 3,352 crore, and Rs 281 crore was received by the state from the Centre as compensation. “Goa is the only state in the country where petrol price is comparatively cheaper and the diesel price is also Rs 4 lesser than what it is in other states,” he said.
The Chief Minister also said that the government is tightening the screws on cooperative banks and societies through auditing and added that the Goa State Co-operative Bank is in profit this year.
Parrikar also assured that the pending bills of sugarcane farmers will be cleared before the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, as he has asked the finance department to clear the bills by August end.