Parrikar to clear air over mining impasse as opposition holds rally
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will address the media in three days to clear the air over the ongoing mining impasse in the state, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Michael Lobo said on Monday.
"I think CM should come out and tell properly. He is the right person because he is the minister of mines and CM of state," Lobo, the state legislative assembly deputy speaker, said.
"In next two, three days CM will address a press conference and tell whether it (mining) is going to happen or not," Lobo added.
Parrikar who is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer has not made an official public appearance for more than two months and has not moved out of his private residence, barring one visit to a local hospital, since October 14.
Lobo's comment comes on a day when a leading national daily ran a story quoting a communication from the Union Law Ministry to the Union Mines Ministry, saying that the central Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act, which mandates auctioning as the only route for allotment of iron ore mining leases, cannot be amended -- as requested by the Goa government -- to facilitate renewal of Goa's mining leases to existing leaseholders.
The communique, according to the news report, was sent to the Union mines ministry last month.
The Congress in Goa has already upped the ante on the issue, accusing Parrikar as well as the state BJP of trying to hide the fact that the Union Law ministry had already rejected Parrikar's request for amendment.
Mining in Goa was banned in February this year by the apex court, faulting the state government for irregularities in granting second renewals of 88 mining leases, while also directing the state government to allot the mining leases afresh.
(With inputs from agencies.)