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Tattered by Covid-19 Second Wave and Cyclonic Storm Tauktae Gram Panchayats of Goa Appeal for Immediate Resurrection of Mining Activities

–                     Goans have lost homes and livelihoods because of devastating impact of cyclone

–                      With tourism industry in the state annulled at least for next couple of years, only hope for the livelihood is resumption of mining

New Delhi, 19 May 2021: Accentuated by the devastating impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and further the cyclonic storm Tauktae, Goans are demanding for urgent relief for protection of their livelihood and lives. Gram of Panchayats of Goa under the aegis Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF) have appealed to the Hon’ble Supreme Court for immediate resumption of mining in Goa as the state is witnessing a grave situation and extra ordinary circumstances. Since the suspension of mining in Goa (March 2018), livelihoods of mining dependents from state are in doldrums and are in search of prosperity and the pursuit of happiness.

The gravity of the situation cannot be over-exaggerated, nor its future ramifications can be underscored. The right to life and livelihoods of the villagers was impacted by shutdowns and embargoes; and the suffering has now heightened beyond extreme to a point of ‘gasping for air’, in ‘search of oxygen’ through Pandemics and nature’s fury. In the cognizance with the current situation, without any further delay resurrection of mining is demanded as an urgent solution to the problems faced by Goans.

Goa’s globally renowned Tourism Industry, which was second only to mining has now completely collapsed and for next couple of years will not see its golden times. According to a report submitted by States Tourism Ministry in December 2020, Goan Tourism has suffered losses to the tune of Rs 7000/- crore; with recorded job losses in the range of 35 %. Now with the second wave of pandemic the entire structure of the state’s economy and the livelihood of the people has fallen apart.

Mr. Puti Gaonkar, President, GMPF said, “The impact of the Covid -19 second wave has further worsened the sufferings of the Goans. The people of Goa especially from the mining belt have broken down completely and finding difficult to meet basic needs such as food and medicines. The people from the villages are at present living with limited resources, borrowings, spot jobs, gold loan at the very least. Hence in the interest of communities an interim direction of immediate resumption of mining in the state of Goa will provide relief to the people of the state.”

Mrs Jayashree Devanand Parab, Sarpanch- Panchayat of Pissurlem, Sattari, Goa, said, “Panchayats of the mining belts have told our Supreme court Advocate to knock the door of Supreme Court again to come to the rescue of our livelihood. Three years of livelihood loss since mining closure in March 2018 and then the Covid-19 pandemic and now the second wave have devastated us further with more sufferings and job losses.  Our village people are on verge of collapse. All are wating for Supreme Court decision to get back the livelihood by restarting mining. Hope the Supreme Court hear our cries of our livelihoods and save the village people from economic death before its too late. We cannot blame the State and Central Government and sit idle. We also will do our bit in the Supreme Court to fight for our people’s livelihood. Hope Supreme Court understand our sorrowful plight and give a decision or solution which will start mining within few months and our villagers get back the livelihood source.”

“We, Panchayat of the mining belt had gone to the Hon’ble Supreme Court for early hearing and decision on Goa Mining matter which is delayed. Now more of our village youths are in trouble because of the severe second wave of Covid which has devastated our village economy and employment.  The recent cyclone has further created huge losses to our people due to the destruction it has caused.  We see immediate resumption of mining is very important to get lives back to track.” says Surya Naik Sarpanch, Rivona Panchayat, South Goa.

The mining ban is not only taking a toll on the livelihoods of Goans but is also badly impacting the socio-economic condition of the state. The Goa Mining sector has been one of the biggest earners of foreign exchange to the state exchequer till the ban which caused a loss of over Rs. 11,000 Crores revenue to the state’s exchequer in the last 3 years.

About Mahender Bansal

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