Strike called by mining dependents evokes mixed response in Goa

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Panaji, Feb 26 (IANS) The one-day ‘bandh’ called by the Goa Mining People’s Front on Tuesday to protest against non-resumption of the mining industry evoked a mixed response in the coastal state.

The impact of the strike was seen only in hinterland towns, where the mining leases and businesses allied to the industry are located.

Most shops and business establishments remained closed in the mining towns of Curchorem, Sanvordem and Bicholim even though opposition parties, including the Congress, supported the strike. No untoward incident was reported in the state.

“People have supported the call for strike because they are also frustrated with the inability of the government to start mining which was banned for the second time in February last year,” convenor of the Front Puti Gaonkar told IANS.

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The Front represents a collective of individuals dependent on the mining industry for a livelihood, which includes truck and river barge owners, owners of ancillary units dependent on mining as well as mining workers.

The mining ban issue has been hanging fire ever since the Supreme Court banned extraction and transportation of iron ore from eight mining leases in February last year. The apex court had also directed the State government to re-issue mining leases.

Mining was first temporarily banned in 2012 by Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, following the unearthing of a Rs 35,000-crore illegal mining scam by the Justice M.B. Shah Commission.

The decision to organise the one-day strike came after members of the Front met Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month in a bid to lobby for mining resumption, but failed to get a concrete assurance.

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–IANS

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