Panaji: The suspension of mining activity in Goa has forced those dependent on iron ore extraction industry to turn back to farming, which they had left after the belt became the country`s mining heartland.
Farmers, who had either become mining workers, iron ore transporters or drivers, are slowly returning to their fields, which were left unutilised due to formation of silt over the past few decades.
According to the State Agriculture Department there was an increase in demand of seeds from farmers in these belts, where horticulture and paddy cultivation is on the path of revival, even as the mining-dependent people wait for resumption of the mining activity.
"There is 30 per cent increase in the demand for seeds in this belt, while the area under cultivation is also increasing rapidly. Earlier, they were part-time farmers, but now they have taken up farming full-time," State Agriculture Director Satish Tendulkar told reporters.
The state government has appointed a special agriculture officer in the mining belt of Bicholim and Pale area to ensure that those who want to till the land get a helping hand.
In the villages like Velguem, the results are showing up as the parched landmasses are turning green.
The agriculture department figures note that 15 hectares of land has now been de-silted and brought under paddy cultivation by the locals.
Similarly, 30 hectares of land in Bicholim has turned green due to vegetable cultivation. "There are difficulties in rejuvenating the land after so much of mining silt got accumulated on it. But the locals are working towards it," he said.