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Goa residents stage protest against mining ban

PTI New Delhi | Updated on April 26, 2013 Published on April 26, 2013

Seeking relaxation of the Supreme Court imposed mining ban in Goa, hundreds of affected people from the state have held a two day protest at Jantar Mantar here.

The protest was organised by Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF) -an umbrella organisation created by mining ban affected people. According to protesters, the ban, imposed since September, has taken away their means of life.

“Four lakh people of Goa, constituting more than 30 per cent of the state’s population, are directly dependent on mining industry for their livelihood... The people dependent on mining are facing great distress and penury,” said a representation of GMPF, addressed to Prime Minister and other ministers.

Political leaders including Gurudas Dasgupta, A B Bardhan and Prakash Javadekar also joined their protest, supporting their demand.

Representatives of GMPF also met a host of top leaders, including Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Mines Minister Dinsha Patel and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley seeking their support.

Christopher Fonseca, a leading member of GMPF, claimed that Mines Minister Patel assured them that coordinated action will be taken with the Goa government so that the ban order can get revoked as early as possible and the mines, cleared of any wrong doings, can become operational once again.

Quoting a recent statement of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, he said that out of 90 mines in Goa, 66 have been cleared of wrong doings and they can immediately begin production, if permitted.

The GMPF has also sought a one—time Rs 5,000 crore package for the state.

In February, the GMPF members had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to present their case of lifting the ban.

Mining in iron ore rich Goa is banned since September last year after a report of Justice M B Shah Commission, which is probing illegal mining issues in the country, pegged nearly Rs 35,000 core losses to exchequer due to illegal mining in Goa.

Later, in October, 2012, the Supreme Court had put a blanket ban on mining and transportation of the minerals while hearing a PIL.

Published on April 26, 2013
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