More than two-years after mining was banned in Goa, the industry is hoping that the Union Government will amend the Mining and Mineral (Development) Regulation Act to restart iron ore mining and save the livelihood of over 3 lakh people in the State.

Iron ore mining in Goa was banned by the Supreme Court on March 16, 2018 due to irregularities and illegal mining. Ever since it has affected livelihoods of over 3 lakh people. Now, the unprecedented Covid pandemic lockdown has further aggravated Goa’s tourism sector, its biggest revenue and employment generator. With no sign of revival in tourism for next one year, the State is staring at a huge job and revenue loss.

Referring to the recent amendment made to MMDR Act to allow private sector mining in coal which has been the domain of public sector company Coal India, Puti Gaonkar, President, Goa Mining People’s Front said it is surprising that the Centre has bought legislative amendment in MMDR Act but there was no mention of reforms in Goa.

“We have been requesting the Central, State government and all the concerned authorities for immediate legislative amendment, for the last two years through multiple channels. The request for the law amendment is also being made by various stakeholders but it is not getting due attention from Centre. The situation is very serious, and it has further worsened with the outbreak of COVID-19,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ministry of Mines need to bring in necessary legislative amendment along with other modifications to aid resumption of mining activities in the State, said Gaonkar.