Mining dependents from Goa wants SC to uphold their constitutional right to Life

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Sao Joao

New Delhi: Over hundreds of people dependent on the iron ore mining industry in Goa, which is under suspension for last 13 months, on Tuesday begun their three-day long Dharna at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, seeking protection of their livelihood.

The dependents under the banner Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF) wants the Supreme Court to uphold their constitutional right –‘Right to Life’, which is currently at stake due to closer of the mining industry, which had been the sole source of income generation for nearly three lakh dependents.

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GMPF president Puti Gaonkar said from New Delhi that the Supreme Court order dated February 2018, banning mining activities was without considering the impact on the livelihood of the residents of more than 50 percent area of the state.

“A sizable population of Goa finds gainful employment in the mining sector either directly or indirectly as truck owners, drivers, barge operators, road mechanics or through other related self-employment ventures. Approximately 60,000 are likely to be rendered without any means of livelihood especially when there is no alternate source of income, impacting over 3,00,000 people,” Gaonkar said.

“Hence, we appeal the Supreme Court judges to uphold our Right to Life, which is our constitutional right,” he said.

The iron ore industry in Goa is shut after Supreme Court in February, 2018 passed a judgment setting aside the second renewals granted to 88 leases and ordered grant of fresh leases.

Gaonkar said that GMPF has filed an Interlocutory Application (IA) in the Supreme Court, which is likely to be listed for the hearing in the Apex Court this month in the pending Abolition matter, seeking for a direction that the 50 year lease period provided under Sec. 8A(3) of the MMDR Act,1957, for the purposes of the concessions converted into leases by the Abolition Act, 1987 will commence from the date of coming into force of the said Act that is May, 23,  1987 and consequently mining operations can be permitted to be resumed on this basis.

“We want the State government also to file a similar affidavit in the Court in a bid to extend the life of leases till 2037,” he said.

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