Mining workers and others dependent on the industry will stage a day-long hunger strike in Goa’s capital Panaji on Friday demanding that iron ore extraction activity resume in the state, reported PTI.
In February, the Supreme Court quashed the second renewal of mining leases given to 88 companies in the state in 2015. The companies were directed to stop all mining operations with effect from March 16. The court said fresh leases will be issued only after the companies obtain environment clearances, and asked the government to start a fresh auction process. The judgement has had an impact on the state’s iron ore export industry.
The Goa Mining People’s Forum, an umbrella organisation of people dependent on the industry, has been protesting against the court’s verdict. The forum’s president Puti Gaonkar said the outfit has been holding a “chain hunger strike” at five places across Goa for 94 days now.
“We have now decided to sit on a mass token one-day hunger strike at Panaji on October 5 to highlight the plight of people dependent on this industry for their livelihood,” he told PTI, adding that around 3,000 people are expected to participate in the protest.
Gaonkar said workers want the Centre to find an immediate solution to the crisis by amending the existing law. The outfit has invited Lok Sabha MPs Shripad Naik and Narendra Sawaikar and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Tendulkar to support the protest.
In July, the state Assembly passed a resolution urging the Centre to amend the Goa, Daman and Diu Mining Concessions (Abolition and Declaration as Mining Leases) Act, saying it would allow the state to bypass the Supreme Court’s judgement.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar then met Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the matter in August and wrote to Union Minister of Mines Narendra Singh Tomar, requesting him to amend the law.