Goa mining should start full-scale after monsoon: AITUC

Panaji, June 13 (IANS) Iron ore mining should start on a full-fledged scale after the monsoon to support thousands of families dependent on the industry, the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) in Goa demanded on Monday.

AITUC further said if the private lease holders were unwilling to resume mining citing poor market condition, then the mining industry should be nationalised.

“We want the mining to start in right earnest after the monsoon. If you want to nationalise, please go ahead and do it, but no exit of workers will be allowed. People dependent on mining must be protected and environment must be protected,” AITUC General Secretary Christopher Fonseca told a press conference in Panaji.

All mining activity was banned in Goa since 2012 following multiple closure orders from the state government and central government, before it was eventually banned by the Supreme Court in the same year after the Justice M.B. Shah Commission exposed a Rs 35,000-crore illegal mining scam.

The ban was lifted and mining eventually resumed in 2015, but private mining companies that operate mining leases in Goa have now cited falling global prices of iron ore as an impediment towards restarting ore extraction and export on a full-scale basis.

Less than 10 per cent of the 88 mining leases are currently being operated, a fact over which Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has also expressed concern.

“We are not sure if we will reach even the 20 million tonnes per annum cap (on ore extraction) fixed by the Supreme Court,” Fonseca said.

–IANS

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