Ponda: Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF), which has been at the forefront of the on-going fight to protect livelihood of 3, 00,000 Goans in the State, urges the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi for his immediate intervention before Goa loses its third consecutive mining year to the ban imposed post Hon’ble Apex Court decision on the matter. By various estimates, the state of Goa has so far faced a loss of around Rs. 7000 crores in the last two years due to the stoppage of mining. If mining activities are not resumed immediately, the loss to the state can go as high as Rs. 10500 crores.
All mining activities in the state were abruptly ceased on March 15, 2018 following the Supreme Court’s decision to quash renewal of 88 mining leases affecting 3,00,000 lives in the state. Hon’ble Prime Minister during election campaign had acknowledged the severe impacts due to stoppage of Mining and had assured the required intervention for immediate resumption of mining in Goa but decisive steps remain to be taken. If an immediate solution is not developed, the fate of Goans will languish amid a global economic slowdown during a pandemic.
Highlighting the issue, Mr. Puti Gaonkar, President, GMPF said, “We would want to congratulate the newly appointed Hon’ble Governor of Goa, Shri Bharat Singh Koshyari on taking up this reputed office. We would request him to highlight the livelihood crisis of Goans before the Central government for immediate actions to be taken. We are deeply obliged to the former Governor of Goa, Shri Satya Pal Mallik ji for his act of mobilising a righteous course of action to protect the livelihoods of lakhs of Goans during his tenure as the Governor of Goa. We request the Hon’ble Prime Minister to consider the appeals made by the Governor and Chief Minister of Goa to safeguard our livelihoods by allowing mining activities to resume in the state.”
The immediacy to break the livelihood stalemate in the state rests on the fact that tourism, Goa’s biggest revenue and employment generator is expected to be on a standstill for the next 4-5 quarters. In the absence of mining activities generating livelihood in the state, Goans stare at a bleak future egged by financial uncertainties. The multitudinous job loss in the state has fostered a mammoth challenge for Goa which was already suffering from an economic downturn.
Goa Mining dependents are still awaiting for ray of hope which could be only possible through immediate resumption of Goa Mining. Though festival season is on, in the state of Goa with the arrival of Ganesh but over three lakh Mining dependents are still struggling for their livelihoods and resumption of Goa mining industry will be a real festive occasion for all Mining dependent population.
“One fifth of Goa’s population is dependent on mining and this year’s mining season will start just after monsoon. If the highest judiciary does not take an urgent decision on the resumption of mining in the upcoming hearing on 26th August, the third consecutive mining year will go to waste. We are highly troubled by the continuous postponement of allotted hearing dates and repeated issuance of new ones by the Hon’ble Courts without any conclusive decisions being reached. Immediate resumption of Goa mining industry is crucial now to save the state’s economy and revive livelihood of over 3 lakh people who are directly and indirectly dependent on mining for survival,” Added Mr. Balaji Gawas, Vice- President of GMPF.
Over the past two years, mining dependents have met and submitted various appeals/representations/memorandums seeking intervention and action from the authorities at the State and Centre level for early resumption of Mining in the State of Goa. GMPF has among others met and briefed Honourable President of India, Honourable Prime Minister, Union Home Minister, Union Mines Minister, Union Law Minister, Chief Minister of Goa, various MP’s cutting across party lines, and bureaucrats at Centre and State to take note of the plight of the people of Goa.