Goa’s stalled mining sector needs an immediate “legislative cure”, ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has said in a letter to Union Minister for Mines Narendra Singh Tomar.

Parrikar has requested the Centre to amend provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act to allow current lessees to continue mining and postpone, for now, auctioning of the state’s iron ore leases.

This, Parrikar said, would prevent any mining operation for four to five years due to the formalities and due diligence which the auctioning processes mandate.

Parrikar is currently undergoing treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

In the letter to Tomar dated September 24, he has said that ever since mining came to a standstill — for a second time since 2012 — in March this year, crime has spiked, and that an intervention was necessary to ensure that those employed in it are not forced to “take law in their own hands”.

“The only possible alternative…is to provide for a legislative cure whereby like the rest of the country, the tenure of the leases which existed in Goa can be extended for a particular period, so as to enable the state to overcome the difficulties it is facing due to the sudden stoppage of mining operations,” Parrikar said in his letter.

The communication comes at a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government as well as Parrikar himself, has been accused of being non-functional. The Opposition and civil society and legislators cutting across party lines have been demanding resumption of mining in Goa, which was banned again from March this year by the Supreme Court.

The court faulted the state government for irregularities in the renewal of mining leases.

The mining issue has been hanging fire in Goa, ever since the apex court banned extraction and transportation of iron ore from 88 mining leases from March, while also directing the state government to re-issue mining leases.
The is the second time is less than a decade that all mining in the state has come to a standstill.