Cong: Govt allowing backdoor legalisation of mines

 

Criticizing State government’s move to collect stamp duty from mining firms for renewal of their mining leases, the Congress on Friday termed the entire exercise as ‘backdoor legalization of mines in the state’ and alleged that the entire exercise has been carried out with mala-fide intentions. 
Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesman Sudip Tamhankar said that government, by collecting stamp duty from the mine owners, whose fate is yet to be decided by the Supreme Court, is allowing backdoor legalisation of the mines. Government has collected Rs 294 crore for renewal of 16 mining leases, for a period of 20 years. 
He alleged that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is also the minister for mining and geology, was acting in favour of the mine operators. 
Tamhankar, who had resigned as party spokesman on Thursday over personal grounds, was back in the saddle Friday stating that he has withdrawn the his resignation “in public interest”.  
Pointing to Sesa Goa Mines at Codli in Sanguem, Tamhankar said that government has collected a stamp duty of Rs 100 crore from the company for renewal of mining leases, which are being found in violation of Mines Minerals Regulation Development Act (MMDR). 
He said that the firm has been accused of extracting ore beyond its permissible limit. “A separate case related to Sesa violations is pending with Ministry of Environment and Forests, since 2012. The ministry has refused to pass any order claiming that the matter is sub-judice,” he said. 
Meanwhile, Congress has also demanded that the mine owners should be made to pay for the mining corridors, instead of government constructing the roads with the funds from State exchequer. Quoting section eight of the Environment Clearance, Tamhankar said that it is clearly specified that the maintenance of village roads should be carried out by company (mining companies) through its own expenses. [H]