Goa

Goa pro-mining activists lay siege to state BJP president's residence


Panaji, Jan 10 (IANS): Pro-mining activists laid a siege to the private residence of Goa BJP president and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Tendulkar demanding that open cast iron ore mining in the coastal state be restarted.

While Tendulkar was not available, former state RSS chief Subhash Velingkar, who was among those who led the protest, said both the state BJP-led coalition government as well as the Centre had failed to live up to their assurances of mining resumption and were ducking their responsibility.

"The BJP has been promising that the law or ordinance would be passed in the recently concluded winter session of Parliament, but none of the three MPs in Goa even spoke on the issue. They are refusing to meet people who are jobless due to the mining ban. They are shirking from their responsibility," Velingkar told reporters.

The mining issue has been hanging fire every since the apex court banned extraction and transportation of iron ore from 88 mining leases from March last year, while also directing the state government to re-issue mining leases.

The state government as well as the ruling BJP have repeatedly said that they were keen to renew the now scrapped mining leases in favour of the traditional lease-holders, even as the recently amended Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, has made auctioning of national resources mandatory.

The ordinance or law sought by mining dependents, which includes mining company employees, mining truck and barge owners would serve as a means to bypassing the MMDR act, by enabling mining leases in Goa to be renewed as against auctioning them.

All three BJP MPs namely Tendulkar, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik and South Goa MP Narendra Savoikar had assured the mining dependents that the recently concluded winter session of Parliament would see passing of the legislation.

The is the second time in less than a decade that all mining in the state has come to a standstill.


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