Macro Economy

Mining is a ‘govt business,’ not judiciary’s job

Richa Mishra Siddhartha P Saikia New Delhi | Updated on November 24, 2017

Manohar Parrikar, Goa Chief Minister

Courts should not decide economic issues, says Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar

“Allowing a mine to run is a government’s business and not judicial business,” says Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Talking to Business Line, the head of the State most affected by the ban on iron ore mining said: “I feel that economic issues should not be decided by courts. For the illegality part, court can issue directions to agencies to implement them. But policy matters have to be decided by the Government.”

Towards the end of 2013, the Supreme Court imposed a 14-month ban on iron ore mining in Goa. It, however, allowed the sale of more than 11 million tonnes of material that had already been mined. Parrikar said firmly, “the judiciary has no mechanism to work it out, the court appoints committee, which is not a correct way of doing it… the responsibility of governance is with Government…”

The problem comes when there are lacunae in law, said Parrikar. “Wherever there are lacunae, the Government will have to come up with laws. The reason why courts step in is because there is a vacuum… the laws have to be clear,” Parrikar said.

Asked if there is an alternative before his Government, he said, “Alternative is to wait for court judgment. One alternative is that the coal that is lying in the pit can be exported. This would make things move. We expect the decision (Court’s) this month.”

Loss numbers ‘not correct’

Criticising the Shah Commission report, he said that the loss figure of ₹35,000 crore is not true. Why does the report not indicate “who, how and where things have gone wrong,” he asked.

On the Gadgil Commission Report on Western Ghats, Parrikar said the report was another mess. “They think solution to everything lies in law and committees. Law cannot solve everything,” he pointed out.

“No one is bothered about the State’s revenue. There has been 25 per cent loss in revenue collection to the State. The State has lost ₹2,500 crore. How do I recover it? Do I cut salary by 25 per cent? Will that be allowed?” he asked.

People affected

Parrikar said 1-1.25 lakh people have been affected, of whom 30,000-50,000 were directly impacted. These are the people who work in the mines, truck owners and machine owners… “Also, there is the issue of bad loans — ₹1,800 crore of loans have become non-performing. Banks are threatening to auction homes.”

To resume mining from May

Hoping to resume mining activity by May, Parrikar defended the proposed cap on mining. “Our cap is not based on inter-generation equity. If capping has to be done by inter-generation equity, it has to be done throughout the country after taking into consideration all mining belts. Not Goa alone.”

On whether re-deployment of people involved with mining sector was an issue, he said, “The problem is not re-deployment. But there are investments made that are lying idle. Let the Centre give us money.”

Though the State Government is offering some relief, it cannot sustain forever.

Published on February 10, 2014

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