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Mining operations to resume in Goa


                                                                                                                                         Times of Indi, New Delhi, 18, Mar, 2015

                                                                                                                                         Vishwa Mohan

Mining operations in Goa are set to resume after the environment ministry decided to revoke its 2012 order that kept in abeyance environment clearances (ECs) granted to all the mining leases in the state.


But the Centre will ask the Goa government to strictly monitor the annual production at 20 million tonnes as capped by the Supreme Court in its April, 2014 order while lifting the ban. An official notification is expected to be issued shortly.


Though the Goa government had also, in January, revoked its previous order on suspension of mining operations, the environment ministry's decision - taken under the UPA government - to keep in abeyance the green clearances was the only technical hurdle in resumption of mining.


"We have decided to revoke the ministry's previous order by following the Supreme Court directives. The state, in its earlier decision in the wake of the MB Shah Commission report, had suspended all mining. That had created unemployment and loss of income to the country," said environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday.


Speaking to reporters at Parliament House, he said the Goa government will now have to decide on ore extraction limits for individual mines in the state, so that extraction does not exceed the annual cap of 20 million tonnes for all mining output generated in the state. Javadekar said, "We have cleared the last hurdle for resumption of mining. It is up to the (mining) industry now."


The environment minister's statement comes within hours of Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar expressing helplessness in drafting the state's budget for 2015-16 which is to be presented on March 25.He reportedly told the local media that his government did not want to table the budget without the environment ministry revoking the suspensions of ECs of mining leases.


Parsekar is learnt to have met Javadekar twice on the issue last month. He reportedly told him that the state government wanted to consider the revenue from the mining industry before finalizing the budget.