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Goa’s mineral trade appeals to Centre for immediate resumption of mining in state

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on April 20, 2020 Published on April 20, 2020

Goa Mineral Ore Exporters' Association (GMOEA), an industry body dedicated to promoting, supporting, and protecting Goa’s mineral export trade, appealed to the Centre for recommencement of mining activities in the state that completed its two years of stoppage on March 16 this year, as per the organization’s official release.

According to GMOEA, the recent outbreak of coronavirus pandemic in the country has further worsened the economic and employment situation of Goa because of the sudden drop in tourists coming to the state.

The organization mentioned that the state debt of Goa has reached levels of over ₹20,000 crore as per recent state budget figures. This sharp increase in debt levels can be attributed to the shutdown of mining activities which has led to a revenue loss of ₹7,000 crores in the last two years.

The state tourism sector, which is already reeling under huge losses, is expected to witness a significant fall in the number of tourists coming to the state over the next three quarters. The contraction in tourism will lead to additional losses for the State as well as increasing unemployment to the tune of almost 75,000 jobs.

GMOEA further revealed that the state is also witnessing closures of several industries due to the extent of the pandemic.

All of this resulting in an acute strain on the state’s exchequer which at present has no visibility of income to justify any form of underwriting support to the industries.

The Suspension of Mining has resulted in no provisions/contributions to the District Mineral Funds (DMF) nor the Goa Iron Ore Permanent Fund (GIOPF) and as a result of which the financial capabilities of these funds to undertake any public interest projects.

Ambar Timblo, President, GMOEA stated in the official release: “Goa is a model state in India regarding mining. The reputation damage to our industry has been consistently caused by false and un-substantive allegations by vested interest groups. Despite not being permitted to work for 70 of the last 96 months, the industry still has paid stamp duties, land revenue conversion payments in excess of 1500 Crores, provisions to the government funds such as DMF and GIOPF in excess of 700 crores and foreign exchange of over USD 1 billion. All of this, when being denied to work 80% of the period in the last 7 years.”

He believes that the Goa Foundation is objecting to the use of DMF and GIOPF monies for the fight against the pandemic and saving lives, which makes one question their true motives and agenda, as they continue to promote damaging measures that certainly do not serve the interests of the people of Goa regardless of socio-economic class. “These funds are being used for the benefit of all Goan citizens, especially because the health and welfare of the people are paramount in any argument for the preservation of intergenerational equity,” he further added.

The organization noted that it is not possible to restart the tourism industry unless the contagion is overcome globally. However, in so far as mining is concerned, the same can be undertaken even during the present period of lockdown with specific safety procedures and practices.

In a most recent judgment, on 30th January 2020, the Supreme Court permitted transportation of extracted Stocks in the state of Goa. However, the main issue of tenure is yet to come up before the Supreme Court.

In India, the mining industry is the third-largest in terms of generating jobs per unit increase in the sectoral GDP. Goa has the highest unemployment rate of 34.5% in the country with around 173,000 unemployed youth, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) Report Sept-Dec. 2019.

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Published on April 20, 2020
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