Govt to reopen OTS scheme to mining affected
State has already paid Rs 278 crore to people affected by mining closure through various schemes; DMF to be used to construct mining corridors. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday announced that the government’s ambitious One Time Settlement (OTS) scheme giving relief to the mining loan borrowers would be reopened.
The scheme, aimed to provide debt relief to truck and barge owners dependent on the iron ore mining industry was introduced in September 2014 and had ended in March last year.
“I have already had discussions with banks and financial institutions. We are opening the mining loan settlement scheme,” Parrikar said, informing the House that the government has so far paid nearly Rs 278 crore to people affected by the mining closure through various schemes.
The Chief Minister was replying to the cut motion moved by the opposition to the Mining department. Parrikar, who is also Minister for Mines, said the government is in the process of notifying the committees under the District Mineral Funds (DMF), through which the construction of mining corridors would be taken up.
“Post assembly session, the notification will be out and by October, the fund will be put in operation,” he said adding that the DMF has been set up as the Central government law.
The Chief Minister said that around Rs 300-400 crore have been deposited with the Goa Iron Ore Permanent Fund, which was constituted as per Supreme Court guidelines and DMF.
“We will use the money to construct the long pending mining corridor project. In next two years, we will ensure that it takes shape,” he said, assuring to resolve the issue about the freight rate for trucks transporting iron ore latest by September.
Taking serious note of the mining firms like Sesa Goa forcing its employees to opt for voluntary retirement and compulsory retirement benefit, Parrikar said he will be dealing with the issue on priority. “If mining companies wants to do business in Goa, then they will have to give preference to Goans,” he said. Parrikar assured to hold a meeting with Sesa Goa officials on the issue.
The Chief Minister also announced that a Sand Mining Policy for the State would be formulated to regulate the business.