Govt should have moved SC to allow continuation of mining till auction process is completed; No alternative to auction of mines
PANJIM: On the eve of the first anniversary of the coalition government, BJP’s senior most minister after Manohar Parrikar says stability has been the government’s major achievement though the mining issue could be have been handled better.
In an exclusive chat with Herald, Francis D’Souza, who is the Urban Development Minister in the Parrikar-led government, said that giving stability was not an easy task.
“We are a government of three parties, plus three independents, each one has its own views, ideology etc and there are bound to be differences in such a big alliance. However, our government has managed to give stability with not a single instance of any threat to the coalition,” D’Souza said.
He further stated that there have been many achievements like the major development of Mandovi, Zuari bridges. “Every constituency, be it ruling or opposition, has seen its share of development. The Chief Minister has assured Rs 25 cr to each MLA for development in his constituency,” he said.
On the failure front, he said, “I cannot see any.” He added,
“Though, I feel, we could have done better on the mining issue. The Supreme Court has struck down the second renewals of mines and we can do nothing about it.”
However, he continued, “With the number of people dependent on mining, I feel the State government could have filed a review petition by now.”
He said there is no way auction can be stopped as it is Supreme Court order. (Herald would like to point out here that there is no explicit direction in the order that leases have to be auctioned)
“However, we could have petitioned the SC saying let mining continue and simultaneously the process of auction could have also started,” D’Souza said adding, “Now the process itself, I feel, will take two years to complete and then the leases will start”.
He added, “We are not concerned about mining companies but the people dependent on mining.” However, he said, nothing much government could also do owing to the medical condition of the chief minister.
“Tomorrow (Wednesday), the Cabinet Advisory Committee or the State cabinet may meet and decide on the future course,” he said.
Asked whether the CAC has discussed the mining issue, he said, “To be frank we haven’t met yet. The order itself was received on Friday.”
D’Souza said the Chief Minister may be back soon and things will start falling in place.