CM offers sops to mining-dependents


Just a day before, the mining-dependent people are set to march on the streets of Panjim, to protest the suspension of mining operations, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Monday, offered sops to them, declaring that he would initiate several schemes for their welfare beginning January 2013. 
In a hard hitting declaration, Chief Minister warned that only 8500 trucks, presently registered with Directorate of Mines and Geology, would be permitted to transport ore, when mining eventually resumes in the State. Mining company trucks too would be granted permission to transport ore. 
Following news that mining companies are discontinuing the services of employees, government has called for a meeting, where mine owners would be asked to keep the termination issue on hold till March 31. 
Several big mining companies have already asked their employees to discontinue, while few have been asked to take voluntary retirement. 
Speaking to media persons on Monday, Parrikar said that government is working on different schemes for mining dependent people, which would be implemented in a phased manner starting January 2013. 
“The schemes would benefit nearly 10,000 to 15,000 people, whose livelihoods are at stake due to mining ban,” he said. 
Parrikar elaborated certain ideas, pertaining to undertaking developmental work and enskilling people to protect their livelihoods. 
He stated that certain quota would be reserved for mining-dependent people, to whom work would be contracted.  
‘‘We will also train around 1000 to 2000 people for other kinds of work,” he added.  
Speaking about the truck owners, Parrikar said that those truckers who have registered themselves with the department would be given financial support and government would also request banks to restructure their loans. 
The Chief Minister said that government is in the process of drafting Transportation and Storage Rules, 2012, under which registration of trucks with Mines Department would be mandatory. 
“No new trucks would be allowed to ply in the mining belt. The restriction on number of trucks would also reduce the traffic chaos along the mining belt,” he said. 
The mining-dependent people under the banner Goa Mining Peoples’ Front (GMPF) has decided to march through Panjim today December 18. 
The rally will conclude with a public meeting at Azad Maidan. The GMPF has also filed an intervention application in the Supreme Court demanding resumption of legal mining.  [H]