Renewal of mining leases should be challenged: Swamy

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Panaji, Jan 9 (IANS) The government’s decision to renew over two dozen iron-ore mining leases, ahead of a central government ordinance endorsing auctioning of natural resources, should be challenged in court, according to BJP MP Subramanian Swamy.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Swamy, who was in Goa to address legislators, also said that auctioning was the best way to maximise revenue generation.
When asked for his comments on the Goa government’s decision to renew 29 mining leases, Swamy said: “Someone should challenge it in court.”
He added that he wasn’t specifically aware of the local mining situation and the exact conditions in which leases were renewed.
“Auction is the best method to maximise revenue. The Supreme Court judgment applies to everyone. I don’t see how the Goa government is exempt from it,” Swamy told media persons.
When asked whether he would impress upon the Goa government to go by the auction route, Swamy said he would “study the Goan scenario before impressing anything upon anyone”.
The central government, through the recent Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Amendment Ordinance 2014, has made auction the default method for granting of leases to mine owners.
The ordinance, which has been endorsed by the president, also says that leases already granted will now have a validity only for five years.
The Goa Foundation has already challenged the state government’s move to renew leases for payment of a simple stamp duty for registering of lease deeds, saying that the decision of the Goa government was an “act of corruption” and against the spirit of the Supreme Court ruling passed last year.

Mining had been banned in Goa by the Supreme Court for over 18 months, before the apex court, while lifting the ban in April last year, had asked the state government to formulate a policy for resumption of legal mining.

Last modified: January 9, 2015