You are currently viewing News wrap

News wrap

Central bank relief for mining stakeholders

In a major relief to truck and barge owners, sildenafil India’s banking regulator, clinic the Reserve Bank of India has given its nod for banks to restructure loans disbursed to the beleaguered mining industry stakeholders in Goa.

The nod means that banks operating in Goa will soon modify repayment of loans worth nearly Rs 1,sales 300 crore they disbursed to thousands of truck and barge owners, iron ore miners and other mining stakeholders currently in a crisis over the Supreme Court imposed ban on the industry in Goa.

According to officials of the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which lobbied with the Reserve Bank on behalf of Goa’s mining industry, the banks have already started the process of restructuring the loans.

Mining industry sources estimate the total exposure of banks in the mining sector to be close to Rs 13 billion.

The restructuring of loans is expected to ease some of the pressure on players in the Goan iron ore mining industry, pushed out of business by the ban.

Although the ban is temporary, a damning report listing large-scale illegalities by the industry submitted to the Supreme Court last week by the Central Empowered Committee, has further damaged chances of an early lifting of the ban.

The Reserve Bank of India has advised banks that they should suggest alternative business sources to clients who approach them for restructuring the mining-related loans, according to Manguirish Pai Raikar, who heads the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Goa has some 22,000 trucks and 400-odd barges plying the trade of transporting ore from the mining sites to the port at Mormugao. The mining sector also contributes nearly a quarter of the State’s gross domestic product.

Sunburn gets Goa political parties in a spin

Sunburn, one of India’s biggest electronic dance music (EDM) festivals, starts in Goa later this month. It has already inspired Goa’s politicians into doing a political twist.

The Congress, the opposition party in Goa, has accused the BJP-led coalition government of going out of its way to support the beach festival, despite traffic and sound pollution issues.

“Sunburn festival is held during Christmas and New Year season in Candolim. There is so much traffic, chaos and confusion, how can the BJP give permission for such a festival in Goa’s already most crowded area. This is a recipe for disaster,” said Congress spokesperson Sudip Tamhankar.

Tourism minister Dilip Parulekar, however, said that no formal permissions had been granted yet for allowing the Sunburn music festival. But he added that the state government’s single-window committee for tourism would take a call on the issue in two days.

“The decision will be given in two days. That is when the finalisation will happen. The organisers had in fact applied in June 2012 for permissions,” Parulekar said.

The tourism minister also said that the state government was not averse to asking the organisers to relocate the festival from Candolim, in the crowded north Goa beach belt where the festival has been traditionally held, to a relatively quieter south Goa venue.

“Goa is not a big place. If it happens in south Goa there should not be a problem. It is only 30 kms away. The difference is only one hour,” he said.