Interestingly present at the rally were also BJP MLAs from the mining belt of Curchorem, Sanvordem and Sanguem who were present to voice their grievances against the shutting down of mining and lend support to the rally.
The stakeholders of the mining industry, led by Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF), held a rally at the Azad Maidan here, asserting that the legal mines should be allowed to be operated as it was affecting the livelihood of more than three lakh people in the state. “State’s economy too is in doldrums due to halt in the mining activity. The state government may not agree but they have no money in the coffers to spend for the public schemes,” GMPF and labour union leader Christopher Fonseca said while addressing the rally.
Fonseca said that the concerned agencies, including Supreme Court, should consider the humanitarian point of view while deciding on the issue.
“People are getting affected. We are not supporting illegal mining but we want sustainable mining,” he said. Several other leaders, representing truck association, barge (ship) association and elected representatives also addressed the rally. Earlier this morning, thousands of people gathered at the city’s bus stand and later walked towards Azad Maidan, situated almost three kms away. A resolution demanding immediate resumption of mining was adopted at the end of the protest rally which would be submitted to various agencies including the state government, central government and Supreme Court.
The apex court had halted extraction and transportation of ore in the state after the Justice M B Shah Commission pointed out glaring illegalities in the mining business. The court has appointed a Central Empowered Committee (CEC) which has begun probe into the illegal mining in the state.