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District Mineral Fund Must Be Used Judiciously

GOA: The district mineral fund must be used judiciously and not to meet the state government’s expenses due to shortage of funds, said Goa’s industrial bodies in a joint representation to chief minister Pramod Sawant.Local communities from the mining belt should have a greater say in the selection of development projects, said the joint statement signed by Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Confederation of Indian Industry, Goa State Industries Association and Verna Industries Association (VIA).“Judicial usage of DMF is for communities with mining belt of Goa and not to meet shortages of funds from departments as revenues have dwindled presently,” the statement said.

Goa’s iron ore sector, a major industry for the state’s economy, has been suspended since March 2018 after the Supreme Court cancelled 88 mining leases which were renewed by the state government. Goa’s industry bodies said that resumption of mining in Goa is of paramount importance.Industry leaders said that they still felt that a legislative cure would have been the ideal and quickest way for the Centre to allow Goa to resume mining. If the Centre granted Goa’s mining leases to operate for 50 years from May 1987, it would ensure mining operations can continue till May 2037. “This must be maintained,” said the statement.

Goa’s industry leaders have also called for low interest loans for barge owners and heavy machinery equipment so that repairs can start. Statutory clearances, consents to operate and other clearances for mining companies should also be processed quickly, said industry leaders.The mining firms have also sought two hours of additional time for transportation of iron ore till 8pm instead of from 8am to 6pm on weekdays.

The News24 Goa

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