‘Government looking at taxing ore and exports’

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar exuded confidence on Wednesday that mining would resume in the State this year, but wanted a mechanism to ensure that the environment was protected and the industry gained no windfall profits.

Addressing a press conference here, he said a method had to be devised with the Centre’s intervention to ensure that mine owners did not earn windfall profits. He said taxing of ore and exports was such a device.

“Those who say that mining should stop completely should stop using gadgets. If we need metal, we need to do mining,” he said. It was easy to say mines must be auctioned, but it could be done only if a method was created for fair allotment of natural resources.

Mr. Parrikar said mining should be restricted to 25 million tonnes in the State, and with a proper corridor, as suggested by the State government, mining could be done in a regulated manner.

He said the Supreme Court had set up a committee which would decide on capping.

“I hope the committee will hold discussions with the State government and decide on the cap.”

The mining in Goa stands banned for more than a year after the Supreme Court, in an interim order on October 5, 2012, banned all mining activities on a public interest litigation petition for a probe into illegalities that the Shah Commission said led to huge losses to the State.

Only recently did the Supreme Court set up a monitoring committee to oversee auctioning of iron ore for exports, extracted earlier and lying idle.