Dependents on Goa’s beleaguered mining industry have raised concerns over the delay in the hearing of the pending cases in the Supreme Court of India, filed by the Goa government and a private mining company, which have sought resumption of mining in the coastal state.
The Goa Mining People’s Front, a collective of now-unemployed mining industry workers and owners of businesses linked to the industry, also said in a statement on Wednesday, that resumption of mining in the state could help Goa’s economy, which has witnessed a dip following the setback to the tourism industry in the wake of the second Covid wave, which has gripped the country.
“It will be smarter for the state government to concentrate on restarting Goa mining operations to address the battered economic and unemployment crisis of the state. Revenue through mining can be more practical than aimlessly only targeting to attract tourists to Goa amid the second wave of Covid because the mining sector is not directly affected by the pandemic like tourism,” Puti Gaonkar, president of the front said in a statement.
“The Goa State and Central Government has to pray for early hearing (of the cases) to the apex court on impending Goa mining matter, before the Court breaks for a vacation on May 15 or has to consider legislative cure for the sake of common mining dependent people and state’s revenue,” Gaonkar also said.
Mining activity in Goa was banned by the apex court first in 2012, following the unearthing of Rs 35,000 crore scam by a judicial commission appointed by the central government. But was resumed in 2015 with restrictions, before it stopped again after the apex court found irregularities in renewal of 88 mining leases and stopped all ore extraction activity from March 2018.
Gaonkar also said that it is “disheartening” that the central government is not showing any willingness to consider Goa Government’s request for amendments to The Goa Daman Diu Concession Abolition Act, 1987 in order to make it applicable prospectively to restart mining in Goa.
“Waiting aimlessly for the Supreme Court to decide on our livelihood is not what we expect from the government,” Gaonkar also said.