Covid, two-year mining ban wreak Goan economy

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 19, 2020 Published on March 19, 2020

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People in mining industry face bleak future

Two years after the mining ban, the Goan industry is hoping for some relief from the Supreme Court during the next hearing slated on April 21 and expects the State government to disburse the special assistance of ₹5,000 per month promised last year to retrenched employees.

Notwithstanding the mining ban, the recent Covid-19 outbreak across the globe has hit tourist arrivals in the State and cut off the other main revenue stream of the Government.

With the two major revenue generating avenues in doldrums, the unemployment rate in the State has hit a new high of 34.5 per cent, according to a recent study.

In its last hearing the Supreme Court had allowed companies to clear the iron ore mined before the ban came into effect on March 16, 2018.

Puti Gaonkar, President, Goa Mining People’s Front, said the activities relating to transportation of iron ore after the two recent e-auction conducted by the State government and the ore extracted prior to the ban are the only solace for people now.

However, the transportation work engage only a limited number of trucks and that too till May. The State’s economy and livelihoods can be brought on track only after restarting mining operations in full scale, he said.

Meanwhile, the Government should disburse the promised financial assistance immediately so that the employees get some relief, Gaonkar added.

With the impact of Covid-19 on the global economy getting more pronounced, tourist arrivals in Goa have dropped sharply and are expected to dwindle further in the coming days.

In the current scenario, resumption of mining activities is the only quantifiable solution to save not only three lakh people employed in the sector but also the State’s economy.

The State’s debt has ballooned to about ₹19,000 crore from ₹13,000 crore in last two years with revenue loss of over Rs 7,000 crore due to abrupt stoppage of mining activity.

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Published on March 19, 2020
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