GMPF appeals for considering all possible routes for sustainable and immediate resumption of mining operations in the state

New Delhi: Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF), organisation at the forefront of the on-going fight to protect livelihood of 3, 00,000 mining dependents in Goa hailed Ministry of Mines and coal to bring out visionary and foresighted mining reforms within a very short span of time. Union Minister for Mines had said that these reforms have been framed based on the suggestions, feedbacks and proposals recommended by general public, mining industry and other stakeholders. The Ministry of Mines on August 24 had posted for a public consultation called, ‘Note on Proposal for Mining Reforms’. GMPF also appealed to the Central government to consider reforms in the Goa, Daman and Diu concession abolition Act along with other mining reforms proposed by the Ministry of Mines.

In this exercise of Union Ministry, GMPF had suggested that the Central Government consider amendments to ‘The Goa Daman and Diu Mining Concessions (Abolition and Declaration of Mining Leases Act, 1987, by making this abolition act prospective from 1987 by amending it from the current provision of it being retrospective.
This proposed reform by GMPF will bring Goa at par with other states in the Union of India to harmonize with the MMDR Act amendment of 2015. The current inequality allows all other states except Goa to extend/ renew life of lease for a period of 50 years. This suggestion will also support the objective of the proposed reforms, to accelerate growth, increase employment and stimulate the economy progressively to recover from the dampening impact of Covid-19.

GMPF had also stressed the need to use the funds particularly DMF and GIOPF to create alternate employment such as agricultural schemes, skill trainings, other specialised educational programs, providing micro finance and credit to local entrepreneur, self-help groups for encouraging the growth of an entrepreneurial thus creating alternate source of livelihood.

GMPF President Mr. Puti Gaonkar, said, “Goa’s mining industry and the livelihood of lakhs of mining dependent population has been neglected over the past 34 months. Hence we request to Union ministry for amendment for taking into consideration the amendment to the ‘The Goa Daman and Diu Mining Concessions (Abolition and Declaration of Mining Leases Act’) 1987’. We have suggested the above addition in the reforms in the mineral sector, to bring about equality for the state of Goa and place it at par with other states to renew/ extend the leases as per MMDR Act amendment 2015.”

“Hon’ble Minister of Mines in a media interview said that the Centre is keen on finding solution to Goa mining issues. We welcome the initiatives being taken by the Centre on the goa mining issue and appeal them to find us a solution as the soonest possible. There is an urgent need for recommending mining in the state to restore economic stability and provide sustainable, self-resilient source of livelihood to the people of Goa. State is currently surviving on loans which is a burden for the future decades to come.” added Puti.

By various estimates, the state of Goa has faced a loss of around Rs. 7000 crores in the last two years due to the halting of mining activities in the state. Goa had one of the highest unemployment rate in the country before the pandemic and now the figures have increased multi-fold due to the crises in tourism sector. If mining is not resumed immediately, it will be difficult for the state to get on track with the state revenue dipping and recover from the acute unemployment crises. In the wake of this unparalleled crisis witnessed by the people of Goa, the above Amendment is sought from the union Govt, to recommence mining with immediate effect.

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Neel Achary is the editor of Business News This Week. He has been covering all the business stories, economy, and corporate stories.