Mining protestors paralyse Goa’s state capital
Mining dependent people took to the streets and defied prohibitory orders in Panjim, blocked entry and exit points to the city and paralysed traffic while protesting against a Supreme Court order that brought mining to a halt in the state.
In February, the Supreme Court had quashed the Goa government’s order to renew the licences of mining companies in the state, and said the companies could carry out mining activities only till March 15.
According to the Apex Court order, fresh leases will be issued only after companies get environment clearances. The court’s order came while hearing a plea saying the renewal had been done in haste to avoid following new rules that mandated auction. All mining companies in Goa stopped their operations on March 15.
On Monday, the administration and police were unable to convince angry agitators to clear the roads around Kranti circle – the entry point to Panaji – and near the foot of the Mandovi bridge.
Mining dependents, including truckers, drivers, machine operators and barge operators had announced they would block National Highway 17 in protest. The protestors were to begin their agitation in the morning, but delayed it to avoid inconvenience to students writing the Class 12 board exams.
The agitators abstained from shouting slogans against the government. However, they had earlier expressed anger with legislators and MPs from Goa.
By late afternoon, the police used undertook Lathi-Charge to clear the protestors of the roads.