Herald: Cong is a house divided on auctioning of mines
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Cong is a house divided on auctioning of mines

17 Feb 2018 06:19am IST

Report by
Team Herald

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17 Feb 2018 06:19am IST

Report by
Team Herald

Kavlekar says CLP prefers “not to inform media” on party stand on auctioning leases; Rane says he’s against auction while Reginaldo counters him saying there’s no option but to auction; Unanimous that the mining business should not remain closed for long; Back legal mining by following all procedures

PANJIM: It is not a secret that Congress lacks unanimity. This time, it is on the vexed mining issue, wherein MLAs are divided on whether to back auctioning of iron ore mines or not. The party, however, is unanimous that the business, which provides a livelihood to several thousand people, should not remain closed for long.

In a special CLP meeting on Friday, to discuss floor management for the forthcoming Budget session, the MLAs failed to reach a consensus on the method the government should adopt for granting fresh mining leases. Except for Luizinho Faleiro and Subhash Shirodkar, the meeting was attended by the other 14 MLAs.

MLAs Chandrakant Kavlekar and Pratapsingh Rane, who had attended the first meeting of mining area MLAs called by the Chief Minister, earlier this week, had expressed their views. The second meeting is scheduled on February 24. 

Speaking to media persons after the CLP meeting, Leader of the Opposition Kavlekar tried to keep under wraps the fact that the CLP discussed on mining crisis. On being questioned by the media, he said, “We had a small discussion and since we could not come to any conclusion, we prefer not to inform you (media). There were different views expressed.”

“But, we are unanimous that mining operations should start immediately. Legal mining should start by adopting all proper methods,” he stated. Kavlekar didn’t sound much in support of auction.

Though, the Quepem MLA did not disclose the CLP view on auction, former Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane said, “We are against auction.” He demanded that the government file a review petition in the Supreme Court.

However, he was interrupted by MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco who said, “There is no option other than auction before the government and government should follow the law.”

Elaborating, Rane said an auction will open the gates for outside and new entrants into business, which will impact the industry and the people dependent on the business.

“Mining is been undertaken by Goan players for the last 50-60 years. They have developed their relationship with the people here and also in the international market. You cannot expect that from the new players,” Rane said.

“Also, there is no livelihood security to locals who are dependent on this industry for years now. We just can’t hand over business to some unknown players,” he added.

Lourenco, on the other hand said auction is the best and only option and that the government should go for it. “There will be complete transparency. Whether to allow outside players for bidding or not, can be discussed later,” he countered.

He was supported by Faleiro, who told Herald when contacted, that though he has not yet read the Supreme Court judgment he has come to know that the order has been passed in line with that of coal block auction and 2G case.

“If that is the thing, then government should follow the law of auction as the natural resources of the country belongs to the people,” he said adding, “Government can examine the order and take a call.”

Tivim MLA Nilkant Halarnakar too opposed auction stating it will disturb the business. “When you introduce outside players, they come with their own contractors, who bring in their own workers/employees. Then what will the local people do? The business will be completely out of control. With local players, at least MLAs and government can have some control in the interest of the people,” he stated.

Shirodkar was of the view that the government should not take a decision in haste, rather it should file a review petition.

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