PANAJI: It has been three years since the mining operations came to grinding halt in the State following the Supreme Court order and yet there is no solution in sight or rather the State does not want to follow the options given by the Supreme Court.
Since March 15, 2018, when the struck off the renewal of mining leases, the State and Centre seem to be involved in just flip-flops with only assurances and no practical solution.
GMPF representing the mining dependents of Goa has raised concerns that their livelihood matter is being ignored by the Central Government in getting a legislative cure to restart mining in Goa which had stopped to legal complication since 15 March 2018, completing 3 years of livelihood lost.
The state Government has already proposed to the Central Government for legislative amendment as a cure to resolve mining stalemate in the state with resolution from all 40 MLAs of Goa immaterial of ruling or opposition.
However, the matter is currently left to the mercy of judiciary and is currently dragged in the Supreme Court without a single hearing till date.
The delay from the Central Government to take a legislative route as a cure in resolving Goa Mining stalemate which is pending from last 3 years only goes to show the neglect towards economic welfare of Goa.
Under the Umbrella of Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF), a letter was written to the Chief Minister of Goa demanding resurrection of mining in the state within next 3 months to help generate sustainable and continuous employment and revive the earning opportunities for Goa’s mining dependents. Mining dependents also demanded for a sustenance package of Rs.15,000 per month for the people who have lost the employment till they remain unemployed, or an appropriate alternate job is offered to the person based on the individual ability, skill, Competency.
GMPF has recently met Goa CM and handed over the representation to highlight the dire need for resumption of Goa Mining for restoring back over 3 lakh Livelihoods in the state.
Puti Gaonkar, President, GMPF said, “We are very much pained to see how the concerned authorities are displaying sheer neglect to the livelihood of common mining dependents and shown their ignorance to us on zero efforts for a solution. In the past 36 months, we left no stone unturned to sensitize everyone that legislative cure is the only way out which was reiterating the state’s proposal to the Central Government.”
Gaonkar said teh GMPF represented several times to the Prime Minister and the concerned ministries requesting reconsideration on amendments to The Goa Daman Diu Concession Abolition Act, 1987 to make it prospective so that Goa Mining leases are valid till 2037. Neither Central government is doing anything in this matter to take up legislative route nor state government is able to persuade the Central Government.
“What amazes us the most is, while the same political party is ruling at both the Centre and state, why the state government has not been able to convince the government at Centre to make the necessary legislative amends for the sake of Goa’s socio-economic development, while there are plenty of reforms done in the mining and infrastructure sector for last two years, but no efforts are made to give our livelihood back,” he said.
However, Gaonkar added, the CM was confident when they met him last week that the Supreme Court will take continuous hearing this week on the matter and some positives to come out of it to pave the way ahead for immediate restart of mining in the state.
“We have lost our livelihoods; we cannot afford education for our children and nobody is listening to our pleas. The NGOs such as Goa Foundation have already destroyed our livelihoods and still creating hurdles for resumption of Goa Mining which is the only source of our livelihoods. We will be forced to take morcha and sit at the homes of this NGO” he says.
Gaonkar said that If need be, GMPF will take this up with Government and Court for blacklisting this NGO for being against the interest of the people to fulfill its selfish motives.
“We will hold dharna to the Government offices and residences of concerned ministries to take action against these NGOs. Our elected representative tells us that NGOs are coming in the way to arrive at a solution, so we expect action against these NGOs and their source of income. Government has to investigate into the same” added Sandesh Gauns committee member, GMPF.
Mining has played and continues to play a vital role in the economic development of Goa and has been one of the biggest earners of foreign exchange to the state exchequer, with the loss of revenue to the State Exchequer estimated at more than Rs. 10,000 Crores during the last 3 years. Mining ban is not only taking toll on the livelihoods of Goans but is also badly impacting the socio-economic thread of the state.