Panaji, Sep 20 (IANS) Hours after Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that a Group of Ministers (GoM) appointed to resolve Goa’s mining deadlock was working earnestly to address the issue, a group comprising people affected by the mining ban in Goa have begged to differ.
“More than two months have passed from the date of the same GoM and so far there has been no progress in the matter,” Goa Mining People’s Front president Puti Gaonkar said in a memorandum submitted to Sitharaman on Friday.
Sitharaman was in Goa to chair the 37th meeting of the Goods and Services Council.
Gaonkar said not enough was being done to protect the interest of nearly three lakh Goans, who are at the receiving end by the ban on mining imposed by the Supreme Court last year.
“In the interim, there are reports that the government intends to modify the definition of illegal mining to help the public sector units. We wonder if such swift steps can be taken to protect interest of PSUs, why can’t the Union Government be more proactive when it comes to protecting the livelihood and future of 3 lakh Goans?” Gaonkar said.
In her address to the media earlier on Friday, Sitharaman had expressed confidence that the GoM formed in July this year and headed by Amit Shah, had made progress in resolving Goa’s mining deadlock.
“I know there is a Group of Ministers which has met. The CM of Goa had participated in it. The GoM has made progress and they have a keen interest in restoring something for Goa,” she said.
Sitharaman was speaking to reporters on Friday near Panaji, ahead of the 37th meeting of the Goods and Services Tax council in the coastal state.A
At its peak in 2011, mining accounted for nearly 30 per cent of the state’s Gross Domestic Product.
The BJP-led coalition government is under pressure to restart the mining industry in Goa, which has been banned for the second time in the last seven years, following revelation of gross irregularities in the sector.