Holding the BJP-led Goa government responsible for the closure of mining leases in the state, the industry stakeholders have planned a protest in Panaji on March 19.
Various stakeholders of the mining industry, including truck owners and ship operators, will take part in the stir that is aimed at putting pressure on the state and the central governments for resumption of the mining activity.
The five-decade-old mining industry in the state came to a grinding halt from today with the Supreme Court order of a ban on iron ore extraction.
“The total blame of this fiasco goes to the state government, which failed to take timely steps despite knowing well that the SC is about to put a ban,” said Sandip Pawaskar, sarpanch of Sanvordem village, which has eight mining leases.
“Even now, the government is acting in a lethargic manner. We expect them to come out with a solution. They can even auction the leases or form state-run corporation to run the business. But livelihood of the people dependent on this industry should be protected,” he said.
Pawaskar said Monday’s protest is intended at putting pressure on the state and the Union government to resolve the crisis.
Vallabh Dalvi, president of Sesa Goa Truck Owners’ Association, a body of the truckers plying for Vedanta Ltd, said that people dependent on the industry will hit the streets, if the mining is not resumed.
“Fraudsters like Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi are leaving the country after siphoning off crores of rupees, but the government is torturing small people like us,” he alleged.
He said members of the Association will take part in Monday’s meeting-cum-protest in the state capital.
South Goa Truck Owners’ Association president Prakash Raut Desai said the truckers are already neck-deep in financial crisis as they had borrowed money to get their vehicles back on track.
“Now, banks are unwilling to give loan to the people dependent on mining industry. That has sealed the fate of lakh of families who are staring at their dark future,” he said.
Pawaskar said all the 40 MLAs in Goa should unanimously support the cause of the mining industry as the revenue collected from the business is shared for the development of the entire state and not only for the iron ore rich belts of the state.
“When we were facing dust and pollution here, those in other areas were enjoying fruits of our labour. Now it is their turn to pay back to us and support our cause,” he said.