Current Affairs

How can PM assure resumption of mining when case is in Supreme Court ?

While it is not unknown for politicians to give assurances to delegations that meet with them on troubled issues, the Goa Mining People Front claim that the Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh has assured them to take all efforts to resume mining in Goa is questionable as currently the matter is in Supreme Court and not up to the Central Government or Prime Minister to recommence mining, since, the interim ban was ordered by India’s apex court, which is not under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s office.

A 10-member GMPF delegation, which met the Prime Minister, said its representation that “the complete mining ban since eight months imposed by the Supreme Court Order dated October 5, 2012 has devastated the lives of people dependent on mining in the state”.

“In one stroke, over a lakh of people have lost their jobs and tens of thousands more their sole source of livelihood,” it added.

“In this situation, with a view to avoid the grim human tragedy, we humbly request you to urgently intervene to ensure the immediate resumption of mining operations in Goa on a sustainable and scientific manner,” it added.

The Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF) delegation was led by Francisco Sardinha, South Goa MP and Chairman of the Lok Sabha Estimates Committee.

“The GMPF set out 5 prayers and sought urgent, concerted and affirmative action by the central government to ensure early resumption of mining operations in Goa after seeking due approvals from the Supreme Court,” it said in a statement.

“The Prime Minister assured the delegation that his Government is fully sympathetic towards the pain and sufferings presently undergone by the mining dependants in Goa. He further assured that all efforts will be made by his Government to ensure immediate resumption of mining operations in Goa,” GMPF claimed.

The delegation also met Mines Minister Dinsha Patel and sought a coordinated action with Goa government on the issue.

The GMPF leaders had met Prime Minister in February as well on the issue. Last month, they had a met a host of top leaders, including Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and the Mines Minister seeking their support.

Mining in iron-ore rich Goa was banned last year after a report of Justice M B Shah Commission, which is probing illegal mining issues in the country, pegged nearly Rs 35,000 crore losses to exchequer due to illegal mining in Goa.

The report had led to state government putting a temporary ban on mining in September last year. Later, in October, 2012, the Supreme Court had put a blanket ban on mining and transportation of the minerals while hearing a PIL.

The GMPF memorandum said over 4 lakh people or over 30 per cent population of Goa have got affected due to mining ban in the state.

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