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Defying Modi manifesto, Goa BJP allows mining lease renewal

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Panaji, Oct 1 :

The BJP government in Goa Wednesday approved the “Goa grant of mining leases policy, 2014”, thereby ruling out the auction method for grant of mining leases.

Announcing this at a press conference Wednesday, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the “renewals” will be done in accordance with the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, “in the interest of mineral development in the state”.
Mining Pic
The state government’s decision goes against the promise made by Narendra Modi in his 2014 Lok Sabha poll manifesto.

Under the “Natural and National Resources” header in the BJP’s poll manifesto, the party quotes Gandhian virtue and cautions against the culture of usurping natural resources and mismanagement.

“We will implement auction of precious resources through efficient mechanisms, including e-auction,” the manifesto reads.

Parrikar Wednesday spoke to the contrary.

“Those mining lease holders who have paid stamp duty in which there are no violations found in terms of the Justice Shah inquiry/Public Accounts Committee report shall be considered for renewal,” he said.

“Grant of leases will be only after compliance with the provisions of section 8(3), including the requirement of the rules namely the report of the Indian Bureau of Mines, and after in each case, the state government has come to the conclusion that it is in the interest of mineral development will grant the lease,” the document reads.

Under the policy, the state government has categorised the mining leases in three categories — those leases which have no or minimal violation, those which have violations and those which have serious violations.

“The government thought it proper to act in accordance with the directions of the Supreme Court by balancing the equities, needs, as also to sub-serve the public interest and by having sustainable development by protecting ecology and other factors.

The state government’s refusal to grant the mining leases afresh through a process of auction is likely to lead to more litigation with the Goa Foundation pledging to stop at nothing short of ensuring that the state exchequer gets the maximum revenue for the natural resources.

(IANS)