Goa: Mining dependents give up on livelihood hopes from BJP

The people who became unemployed after the closure of iron ore mining industry in Goa have been left in the lurch after BJP has failed to come up with solutions for their loss of livelihood

PTI Photo
PTI Photo
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NH Political Bureau

The people left unemployed after the closure of iron ore mining industry in Goa feel left in the lurch after BJP has failed to come up with solutions for their loss of livelihood. Some of these three lakh people have begun saying that they never faced livelihood
crisis under the earlier government.

The iron ore mining industry in Goa has come to standstill since March 16, 2018, after the Supreme Court quashed 88 mining leases. Mining was an important economic backbone of the coastal state, which is also dependent on tourism and fishing for revenue and employment generation.

“We never faced problem when Congress was in power. The crisis were forced on the industry by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar during his previous tenure and since then the industry continues to reel under the stress,” said Nilkant Gawas, President, All Goa Truck Owners Association.

“Where is the scam? BJP made a big hue and cry over the scam. If there is a scam then something would have come by now. They are just targeting Congress and the mining industry,” said Balaji Gawas, a truck owners association leader from South Goa

Gawas is heading an organisation of more than 12,000 truck owners, who are struggling to pay off bank loans after the shut down of the mining industry.

“When Congress leader Digambar Kamat was State Mines minister, everyone had enough to make their livelihood. Those were our happy days,” he said. Kamat, Congress chief minister of Goa between 2007-2012, has been the state's longest serving mines minister. Currently he is mired in inquiries by Goa Police after BJP came to power. He was also alleged to have been involved in the illegal mining scam.

“Where is the scam? BJP made a big hue and cry over the scam. If there is a scam then something would have come by now. They are just targeting Congress and the mining industry,” said Balaji Gawas, a truck owners association leader from South Goa.

The people dependent on the mining industry have currently begun the chain hunger strike and candle light marches across the State under the banner of Goa Mining People’s Front.

BJP leaders are facing extreme criticism during the public meetings organised by the mining dependents. “I solely hold BJP led government responsible for the current crisis. After Supreme Court judgment, nothing has happened during last three months,” said Puti Gaonkar, President, Goa Mining People’s Front. He said that the BJP leaders have let down the mining dependents. “BJP is in power in the state and also in the centre, they can just move one ordinance and restart the mining industry, but they are reluctant to do so,” Gaonkar said.

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