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‘Increase cess on mining; granting of leases should be transparent’

Panaji, June 20 (Calcutta Tube) The cess on mining needs to be increased significantly and the revenue generated should be earmarked for development of infrastructure in specific areas where mineral exploration is being carried out, industrialist Jamshyd Godrej has said.

Speaking to IANS on the sidelines of the annual general body meeting of the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry Saturday, special invitee Godrej said transparency while identifying and allocating mining leases on part of the government was of singular importance.

‘The mining cess should be increased significantly and used in the same areas which have been explored (for minerals), for infrastructure development which benefits the region and the people living in the areas affected by mining,’ said Godrej, a Padma Bhushan awardee.

Godrej, who is the chairman and managing director of the Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Company, said people in areas affected by mining needed to know and understand how government machinery identifies and allocates land for mining.

‘These processes have to be transparent. How does the government decide, which area needs to be mined? If you are not transparent, the local communities will not allow mining to happen,’ Godrej said, pointing to long-strung protests by local residents against the Pohang Iron and Steel Company (Posco) project in Orissa.

Godrej further advocated a sharp increase in the cess on mining companies, which he said could be effectively utilised in creating infrastructure in the areas devastated by mineral exploration.

Commenting on the unique situation in Goa, where mining and tourism — equally significant industries — co-exist, Godrej said there was scope for both to go hand in hand provided ‘both were developed on a sustainable basis’.

‘Both can co-exist. It is not easy, but it can be done,’ Godrej said.

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