Goans seek PM`s help for resumption of mining
New Delhi: Mining dependent people from Goa Monday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and sought his intervention for resumption of mining operations in the state on a sustainable and scientific manner, according to Goa Mining People`s Front (GMPF).
"The current mining ban has devastated peoples` livelihoods. People have virtually stopped sending their children to schools and colleges as they are facing penury and reeling under the yoke of loans, unable to re-pay them..." a 12-member delegation, representing various streams of Goa`s mining industry under the banner of GMPF, said in its representation to the Prime Minister in the meeting.
"We urge upon you to urgently intervene to ensure the resumption of mining operations in Goa on a sustainable and scientific manner," it added.
The meeting was also attended by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan.
"We were seeking demand specific intervention from the Prime Minister in our representation, including a direction to Environment Ministry to revoke the suspension orders of environmental clearances issued in September, 2012," said Christopher Fonesca, General Secretary of trade union AITUC for Goa and a leading member of GMPF.
Speaking to mediapersons after the meeting, he said that they also sought scrutiny of Justice M B Shah Comission`s report by an expert committee as the Commision`s report has "many errors" and "has been challenged by the state government in its affidavit to the Supreme Court".
The Shah Commission has pegged nearly Rs 35,000 crore losses to exchequer due to illegal mining in Goa. This led to state government putting a temporary ban on mining in the state in September last year.
Later, in October, 2012, the Supreme Court put a blanket ban on mining and transportation of the minerals while hearing a PIL. The matter is likely to have its next hearing tomorrow in the apex court.
Stating that over 4 lakh people are dependent on mining activities in Goa, GMPF said that nearly 1 lakh persons have been rendered jobless and are facing penury and distress due to the mining ban in the state.
The GMPF representation also cited a portion of Goa Governor`s address to the state legislative assembly on January 28 which has pegged the loss of over Rs 20,000 crore to state economy due to the ban, while seeking a joint effort by the Centre and the state government in securing early resumption of mining.
Their other demands included restructuring and deferment of loan repayments for mining related stakeholders.
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