Casts aspersions on the role of NGO’s in misguiding the people and getting hindrance to our livelihood through mining restart in the state
The corner meetings held by Goa Mining Peoples Front (GMPF) to demand immediate mining resumption in the State of Goa continue to draw in large numbers and thousands of people have extended their support to come out on street to fight for their livelihood. During the recently held meeting at Pale, Bicholim Goa, GMPF expressed strong resentment about the fact that the mining solution being dragged for 3 years over possible solutions since the second lease renewals of 88 leases were struck down by Supreme court wherein govt was asked to regrant the leases. GMPF is fighting for immediate mining restart and any expressed strong reservation as over the viability of mining resumption via the route of State Mineral Corporation which will be a big failure and will delay the restart.
When GMPF had pointed fingers at the Goa foundation for being the source of grief to 3,00,000 mining dependents in the State as it was their action that led to mining Stoppage in the State, Goa Foundation had spoken about formation of a Mineral Corporation and further create confusion among the people in the State of Goa. Other than legal issues about forming a corporation, the poor track record of Govt. Corporation is very much evident, and the employees & dependents of these corporations are struggling for their timely salaries/ Income.
Mr. Puti Gaonkar, President, GMPF said, “We are fighting for getting back our livelihood at the earliest by a resumption of mining in Goa and the fastest solution is ideal for getting back our livelihood. We see that the earliest solution is by legislative amendments. We do not see a mineral corporation being a viable alternative to mining resumption in the state of Goa as it will only delay the resumption of mining with issues like surface rights and perpetuity rights enjoyed by the mine owners. The same is with Auctioning of leases. The professing by NGO’s to form a state-run Mining Corporation for the resumption of Goa mining does not seem to be a feasible solution as the Union Mines Ministry in its IA stated that there is a likelihood of conflicting rights being created unless the challenge to the Abolition Act is decided by Honourable Supreme Court of India. Besides State-Run Corporation’s do not have the required expertise to conduct the mining activities and the efficiencies that will creep up in the activities of the corporation will mess up the livelihood and I do not have to give any witness to such inefficiencies of state corporation. The state has witnessed the precarious financial position of State Corporations like Sanjivani Sugar Factory and Kadamba Transportation Corporation in the State. The formation of a mineral corporation seems to be an antithesis to the idea propounded by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri. Narendra Modi, who seeks to promote private enterprise in the country to overcome years of inefficiencies that have been seen in the Public Sector. I would once again urge the people to realize that the ideal solution expressed by the NGO Goa Foundation and others is not a practical solution and is only guided to delay the restart of mining in Goa and ultimately is directed to hand over the leases to Giant mining companies. Our objection to these plans of NGOs is not about mines going to giant mining companies, but the delay that will be caused for such back door solutions in getting back our livelihood. NGO are spreading misconceptions in the minds of people by propounding utopian ideas which as it seems would never see the light of the day.”
“We need to create as much awareness against the disparity prevailed against Goans and their demands across the ministries. To begin with, we have planned a protest on 16 March with machinery and trucks in front of the official residence of Chief Minister Dr.Pramod Sawant. We have also decided to hand over keys of trucks and machinery to Dr. Sawant as these are lying idle from past 3 years and the debt against the loan taken is increasing manifold.” added Puti Goankar.
“We are unstoppable now till we get a tangible solution to our problems. One cannot dream of AatmNirbhar Bharat without the inclusion of Goa in the scheme of plans. We were self-sufficient when mining operations were running and now, we are forced to demand compensation for living which is opposite to the idea AatmNirbhar Bharat. We have always done productive work for our livelihood that added to the state revenue. We are now pushed to live on doles, but we are not going to let this happen. If the respective deciding bodies do not come up with a solution in near future, we will not think twice before taking extreme actions to get our respectful livelihood back. We do not have anything left to lose. We have lost the truck businesses that gave us livelihood, we cannot afford education for our children and we have lost respect as breadwinners in our family. We will have to come to the streets again and again to make our voice heard and at the same time I warn the NGO not to test our patience further and stop interfering in the solutions of mining restart” Added Suresh Bandu Desai representing North Goa Truck Owner Association.
In the meeting, people dependent on mining discussed the way forward and plan of action to seek the attention of the Central government towards the wrenching condition of mining dependents in the state. In the past 3 years, mining dependents have met and written letters/ representations/ memorandums to the Apex Court of India and ministries at both the Central and State levels. After the mining dependents lost faith in the Supreme court, they have been urging the Union Government to consider amendments in ‘The Goa Daman and Diu Mining Concessions (Abolition and Declaration of Mining Leases Act, 1987).