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Mining industry workers returning to farming in Goa

PTI Panaji | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on March 06, 2013

The suspension of mining activity in Goa has forced those dependent on the iron ore extraction industry to turn back to farming, which they had left after the belt became the country’s mining heartland.

Farmers, who had either become mining workers, iron ore transporters or drivers, are slowly returning to their fields, which were left unutilised due to formation of silt over the past few decades.

According to the State Agriculture Department there was an increase in demand for seeds from farmers in these belts, where horticulture and paddy cultivation is on the path of revival, even as the mining-dependent people wait for resumption of mining activity.

“There is a 30 per cent increase in the demand for seeds in this belt, while the area under cultivation is also increasing rapidly. Earlier, they were part-time farmers, but now they have taken up farming full-time,” State Agriculture Director Satish Tendulkar told PTI.

The State Government has appointed a special agriculture officer in the mining belt of Bicholim and Pale area to ensure that those who want to till the land get a helping hand.

In villages such as Velguem, the results are showing up as the parched landmasses are turning green.

The Agriculture Department figures note that 15 hectares of land has now been de-silted and brought under paddy cultivation by the locals.

Similarly, 30 hectares of land in Bicholim has turned green due to vegetable cultivation. “There are difficulties in rejuvenating the land after so much of mining silt got accumulated on it. But the locals are working towards it,” he said.

Published on March 06, 2013
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