26 Feb 2019
Goa's mining belt observes bandh; public transport, pharmacies exempted
Markets and educational institutions remained shut in the mining belt of Goa today as part of a bandh called by a group demanding resumption of iron ore extraction activities in the state.
The Goa Mining People's Front (GMPF) earlier gave the call for the day-long bandh in iron ore extraction areas.
Public transport and pharmacies were exempted from the bandh.
Livelihood of mining dependents affected due to suspension of extraction
The GMPF, an umbrella group of mining dependents whose livelihood has been affected, called for bandh in those areas where iron ore extraction was held before the suspension of such activities.
GMPF president Puti Gaonkar said markets and schools and colleges in the mining-dominated areas of Bicholim (North-Goa district), and Quepem, Sanguem and Dharbandora talukas (all in South Goa district) remained closed since morning.
No one was forced to shut their establishments: GMPF President
Gaonkar said that the public transport and pharmacies were exempted from the bandh.
"No one was forced to shut their establishments. People have seen the negative impact of suspension of mining and they voluntarily participated in the protest. Everyone wants mining to resume," he said.
The mining operations last year came to a standstill in March following a Supreme Court order.
Mining operations came to standstill following SC order last year
Mining operations, a key source of revenue to the government, came to a standstill last year following a Supreme Court order which quashed 88 mining leases.
The BJP-led state government earlier requested the Center to amend the existing mining laws during the recently concluded session of Parliament so that leases get extended.
The GMPF had last year also staged protests demanding resumption of mining-activities.
State government have to work out a solution itself: Parrikar
The front had last December staged three-day protests over the issue in New Delhi.
BJP parliamentarians from Goa and GMPF representatives recently met PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah in New Delhi to discuss the matter.
CM Manohar Parrikar during a cabinet meeting earlier this month said the BJP-led state government will itself have to work out a solution to the mining crisis.