If MMDR Act is not going to be amended, then how do we restart mining?

Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo said that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will have to announce the future course of action the State intends to take to resume iron ore mining operations in Goa, which have been shut for the last nine months. Speaking to media persons, Lobo said Parrikar will shortly hold a press conference to disclose the government’s stand on mining. Lobo was reacting to media reports which claimed that the Union Law Ministry has struck down Goa’s request to amend the existing mining laws so as to allow the sector to restart in the State. “There are clear indications coming from the Centre. If MMDR Act is not going to be amended, then what is the next option? That the Chief Minister will have to tell by this week or next week. People are waiting… it is their livelihood,” he said. “If auction is the only option, then they should start with the process,” he said and added, “CM is the right person because he is the State minister for mines and Chief Minister of the State. The national policy of mining is different. It advocates auctioning of the mining leases. CM has to tell the people of the mining belt and the people of Goa what is the solution. I cannot give you a comment on that. I think within 2 or 3 days or a week he has to tell. He will address a press conference and tell. He cannot go on prolonging and say that the Centre will amend,” Lobo said. “CM has to tell how he wants to take mining forward. If he wants to restart mining then what is his next course of action, whether he will start auctioning or whether PM will give us relief,” he said.

Parrikar who is suffering from pancreatic cancer has not made a public appearance since October 14, when he returned from AIIMS to his personal residence at Dona Paula. Earlier, Lobo said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the only person, who can solve the mining issue at the Centre. “Only person who can give us relief in the mining issue is the Prime Minister because that was his decision,” the BJP MLA said. Lobo said that the PM changed the law for the sake of the mining industry of the country, not for Goa. “Now, PM will have to tell us whether he is going to do something for Goa or not,” the MLA stated. The Supreme Court in February, quashed and set aside second renewals granted to 88 mining leases leading to the closure of mining operations from March 16.

Following Ministers expressing their anxiety over the functioning of the State administration, Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo on Monday said “we have to admit that Chief Minister is really not well and will have to have some patience”.  Lobo met Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar over the beach cleaning matter and sought his intervention. Speaking to media persons after the meeting, Lobo said, “CM is okay. I am praying to God for his speedy recovery and wish that he gets well soon. I have spoken to Chief Minister about the administration failure. We have to admit that Chief Minister is really not well. We will have to have some patience.” The Calangute BJP MLA said, “Chief Minister has asked to give him some time and the Manohar Parrikar I know, I am sure will take the right decision in the interest of the State and its people.” Lobo added, “I was the first one to raise the issue (collapse of administration) and yes CM’s illness has affected the administration. Because of the CM’s illness, tourism officials are doing what they want as there is no one to control them.”