Likely to introduce a Bill to amend two Acts in the winter session of Parliament.
The Centre is planning legislation to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act and Goa, Daman and Diu Mining Concessions (Abolition and Declaration as Mining Leases), Act 1987, in order to restart mining operations in Goa.
According to a source, the government is likely to introduce a Bill to amend the Acts in the coming winter session of Parliament.
Mining activities in the state came to a halt from 15 March after the Supreme Court quashed the second renewal of 88 mining leases there. The government, in order to find a way to the problem, subsequently set up a Group of Ministers (GoMs), headed by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.
Mining is the key revenue generating sector, whose annual turnover is about Rs 4,000 crore. The state government earned Rs 1,182 crore from the mining sector from 2015 to 2017. The closure of the mines has impacted 60,000 jobs, directly and indirectly, and brought at stake the livelihood of about 3 lakh people.
Sources said the government is under intense pressure to start mining operations in Goa, as halt in mining activities has led to large scale unemployment in the region. The Goa Forward Party has said that it could take “extreme steps” if mining did not restart.
Around 3,000 mining dependent people sat on a hunger strike at the Azad Maidan, Panaji, this week, demanding resumption of the industry.
The Shiv Sena has also backed the demand of the striking people.
The dependents, under the banner of Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF), have threatened a state bandh on 21 January if their demands are not fulfilled. They will also hold a dharna at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to put pressure on the Centre to pass a Bill in order to start mining activities in the state.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, along with a delegation comprising Union Minister Shripad Naik, MPs Narendra Sawaikar and Vinay Tendulkar, had in August met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also the GoMs, requesting them to take steps to restart mining activities. The delegation also presented them with the copy of the resolution passed by the Goa Assembly for resumption of mining operations. The resolution, which was passed by the Assembly in August, requests the Centre to amend the Acts and making mining leases in Goa valid from 1987, when the Act was promulgated and applied to Goa, rather than 1961, the year Goa was liberated.