Reluctant to provide a deadline for solving the mining issue in Goa, Union Minister for Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi on Monday stated that the group of ministers appointed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for the purpose is meeting regularly and will come out with a workable solution “very shortly” for all mining related problems.
“We are positive about it and will provide a workable solution after studying the pros and cons of the issue,” he added, maintaining that the 2019 general elections had delayed the resumption of mining in Goa.
Interacting with media persons in the city, Joshi said the particular matter has now become complex as it has gone before the High Court as well as the Supreme Court many times over and as such, it will take time to resolve the same.
Joshi also said the GoM has been looking into all matters related to mining in the country, including the closure of many of the mineral mines in states like Odisha and Karnataka in 2020, as per the Mines and
Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act and the Supreme Court order.
“I don’t think that in Goa there are any more mines left to be closed down,” he observed, “and therefore, there is no scope here, for further closure of the mines”.
Joshi mentioned that he already has discussed the mining issue with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, and will be again doing so, during his present Goa visit.
“In fact, the officers of my ministry are also working seriously on this issue,” he said, parrying a question as to which mode will the GoM select for restarting mining in Goa.
The iron ore mining and transportation operations came to a standstill in the state after the Supreme Court quashed 88 mining leases in February, last year.
The Chief Minister had assured mining industry dependants that issues pertaining to the sector would be resolved by the end of July 2019.
The Union Minister for Coal and Mines said the governments of Karnataka and Goa should sit and talk over the Mahadayi issue, so as to reach a “negotiated settlement”.
“Negotiated settlement will be the best settlement,” he observed.
Karnataka and Goa are locked in a bitter battle over sharing of water of the Mahadayi, which originates in the former state.
When asked if Karnataka has started constructing a dam on the river, Joshi said that when the matter is before the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal, no government can do anything.
Commenting on the new Motor Vehicles Act that kicked in the country, Joshi opined that India has been witnessing highest road accidents as also very high loss of lives, especially due to the negligence of drivers and drunken driving, which could be brought under control through the new legislation.
“It is a major decision taken by the central government,” he added.
Step fines and stringent punishment have been proposed under the new Motor Vehicles Act for various traffic violations.
Replying to another question, Joshi said the decision on banning cow slaughter in Karnataka will be taken up while considering the sentiments of people of that state.