The government is working overtime to avert a crisis in the mining sector in 2020 by when most of the mining leases in Karnataka, Odisha as well as other parts of the country are set to expire, Union Minister for Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi said on Monday.
Joshi, who was addressing a press conference in Panaji, as part of a nationwide publicity blitz to celebrate 100 days of the National Democratic Alliance-2 government in power, also said, that the mining industry in Goa which was banned by the Supreme Court last year, would also be restarted soon and that a Group of Ministers appointed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was working on solutions to resolve the mining deadlock in the coastal state.
"Even in 2020, mines are set to be closed as per the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act and the Supreme Court order. All those things, even at that time, there will be a crisis. That is why GoM is working very seriously to sort out this issue," Joshi told reporters.
Explaining the delay in resumption of the mining industry in Goa, Joshi also said that the process of the 2019 general election had delayed the resumption of mining in the coastal state.
"After 2018 judgement, this issue became more complex and that time there were general elections. After 2019 elections the GoM has been formed after Goa Chief Minister met me over the mining issue. Very shortly, we are going to meet once again. And officers are working seriously on the issue, and we will come to a conclusion," Joshi said.
"Previously, there was no GoM and there were no senior ministers involved in this. Now, all these Union ministers also involved and the problem (resumption of Goa mining) will be solved very shortly," Joshi said.
When asked if the MMDR would be amended again to find a way to resolve the mining crisis in Goa and to circumvent the collective expiry of mining leases in 2020, Joshi was non-committal, saying: "I cannot disclose because the GoM is seized of the matter. We are very, very positive about it, because it impacts the economy of Goa and the country also".