Goa govt body withdraws ₹3 crore nod for institute linked to CM Pramod Sawant | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Goa govt body withdraws 3 crore nod for institute linked to CM Pramod Sawant

ByGerard de Souza
Mar 06, 2024 06:59 PM IST

The move is seen as an effort to cap the controversy around the decision of the foundation to sanction ₹3 crore to an institute linked to chief minister Pramod Sawant

PANAJI: The North Goa District Mineral Foundation has withdrawn its decision to sanction 3 crore for a nursing institute linked to chief minister Pramod Sawant after the Bombay high court in January asked the state to explain the basis on which such allocations were made.

Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant participates in the Temple Swachhata Abhiyan at Shri Datta Mandir, Radhakrishna Mandir Sankhali, and Rudreshwar Mandir Harvalem, in Goa (Goa CMO X/ ILE PHOTO)
Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant participates in the Temple Swachhata Abhiyan at Shri Datta Mandir, Radhakrishna Mandir Sankhali, and Rudreshwar Mandir Harvalem, in Goa (Goa CMO X/ ILE PHOTO)

“The governing council of the foundation, which was set up to address issues in areas affected by major mineral mining, decided to withdraw its approval at its meeting on January 24, according to the minutes of the meeting issued on March 4. HT has reviewed a copy of the minutes.

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“The Governing Council has withdrawn the Administrative approval given earlier to the Sai Nursing Institute project and decided to revert the allocated fund to the Skill Development Sector,” the minutes said. The governing council is headed by North Goa collector Mamu Hage and its meeting in January was attended by 33 others including two legislators.

The move is seen as an effort to cap the controversy around the decision of the foundation to sanction 3 crore to the institute on March 1, 2023.

At its meeting on August 31, 2023, the foundation decided to operationalise the 3 crore funding by signing a memorandum of understanding with the institute so that students from the mining belt get fee concessions.

But after the minutes of this meeting emerged, a petition was filed before the Goa bench of the Bombay high court questioning the approval for Sai Nursing Institute, which is run by the Sai Nursing Society founded by Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant.

Goa Foundation, an environmental advocacy group, asked the state advocate general to explain how sanctioning 3 crore for the Sai Institute met the stated objective of the district mineral foundation Section 9B of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, and the 2018 rules.

Section 9B empowers state governments to establish the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) to work for the welfare and benefit of persons, and areas affected by mining-related operations and make rules for the composition and functions of the DMFs.

As a controversy erupted over the decision by the DMF, the Chief Minister’s Office said while a scheme was approved under the DMF for Sai Nursing Institute under the rural development initiative in mining-affected areas, “Sai Nursing Institute did not take any benefits of the scheme and no amount was disbursed to the Institute by the District Mineral Foundation”. The CMO also added that the Sai Nursing Institute has written to DMF that the institute does not require any funding for any of its public service programmes.

According to the minutes of the January 24 meeting, the request for funds was made in 2022 and was being withdrawn as the institute has completed a “substantial portion of the proposed works”.

“The project ‘Proposal for recommendation of Sai Nursing Institute, Sankhali to avail funds from District Mineral Foundation, North to set up Private Nursing Institute’ was sanctioned an amount of Rs. 3 Crores in the GC meeting dated 01-03-2023. The Directorate of Skill Development and

Entrepreneurship vide letter no. … dated 16/01/2024 has informed the DMF (Trust) North that

Sai Nursing Institute has withdrawn its proposal dated 17/11/2022 for financial assistance from DMF (Trust) as the institute has completed substantial portion of the works proposed earlier.”

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