PANAJI, India – It may sound strange, but the government is thinking of developing closed mining pits for tourism activities.
The draft mining policy announced by chief minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday has proposed that tourism be developed in mines that have shut down after excavation of minerals.
The policy states that “mineral-related tourism would be promoted with a view to create awareness, educate the masses and provide employment opportunities to the local people”.
It further states, “Geological parks would be set up in the state wherever feasible.”
There’s nothing concrete as far as promoting “mineral-related tourism” is concerned as the proposals in the policy appear vague. There is also a big if that goes with the proposal. Speaking to TOI, mines director Prasanna Acharya said they floated the tourism idea intending to see whether closed mining pits can be converted into lakes. “If mining companies have planted trees, then we can check if those can be converted into spice farms,” he added.
Sources said the government expects feedback from the citizens in next one month. The last date for making suggestions on the draft policy is September 10.
Sources added that depending upon what emerges, the government would appoint a consultant to further develop the concept of promoting mineral-related tourism.
The policy makes it binding on the state to ensure that mines in their mine closure plans make adequate provision for reclamation and/or restoration of the land to the best possible potential in collaboration with local communities, and for their use. “Land after closure shall be returned to the local bodies for management preferably as a common property resource, particularly for the benefit of the rural poor,” the policy states.
Mining companies will be asked to put in place corporate social responsibility schemes, setting aside 3% of their net profit of the previous year. “Mines will be encouraged to form partnerships with the district administration, local bodies and NGOs for implementation of local area development progammes, maintenance of community assets and creation of on and off mine employment opportunities,” the policy states.