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Goa flays central government over mining


Panaji, March 3 :

Goa Governor B.V. Wanchoo Monday lashed out at the central government for not bailing out the cash-strapped state government which is grappling with the mining ban.

BV Wanchoo, Governor, Goa
BV Wanchoo, Governor, Goa

Wanchoo told the state assembly on the first day of the budget session that repeated requests to the central government for financial assistance and a bailout for people living in mining areas had fallen on deaf ears.

“Despite our best efforts, the central government failed to react in any positive way, even though it has been the biggest beneficiary of iron ore mining and its export from Goa,” Wanchoo said.

The governor expressed the hope that a new government in New Delhi after the Lok Sabha polls would perhaps reach out to Goa financially.

“I sincerely hope that the new government … will lend a helping hand to the state in its hour of need by extending a liberal financial package to compensate the losses suffered by the state,” Wanchoo said.

The governor said the mining ban had resulted in a 20 percent loss to the state economy.

“In absolute terms it works out to over Rs.8,700 crore at current prices of 2013-14, whereas the state exchequer has suffered a direct and indirect revenue loss of around Rs.2,000 crore as on date,” Wanchoo said.

Over 1.5 lakh people who were dependent on the mining sector directly or indirectly have been affected by the ban, the governor said.

Mining has been banned in Goa for over a year and a half now by the Supreme Court, which is probing a Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scandal.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will present his budget March 5.