GMPF wants special corpus fund

The Goa Mining Peoples’ Front (GMPF) has demanded from the government the creation of a special corpus fund of Rs 5 crore to compensate the people affected by the ban on mining in Goa.

All mining dependents including truck owners and ancillary units have demanded that both state and central governments jointly, through the Ministry of Environment and Forests, plead before the Supreme Court to allow all mining operations to start forthwith.

They have decided to launch a series of public meetings at different places starting November 17 and a mass chain hunger strike till December 17 in Panjim, which will culminate in a massive morcha on the eve of Liberation Day on Dec 18 in Panjim.

The aggrieved people will hold public meetings at Curchorem on November 17 and Usgao-Tisk on November 24.

GMPF, while addressing a press conference on Monday blamed the political rivalry between the Goa government and Centre for the present crisis. “Political rivalry between the BJP state government and Congress led UPA-II has plunged the state into a crisis which has ultimately halted all mining operations…,” GMPF Convener Suhaas Naik said.

“Banks and other financial institutions have already served notices to truck owners to pay installments, on which they have defaulted. Shops, garages, workshops, hotels and markets have been affected”, Naik said, adding that people would be forced to take drastic step if the crisis persists.

General Secretary of All India Trade Union Congress, Goa Unit, Christopher Fonseca alleged that neither the state nor the central governments thought of the repercussions on mining dependants while ordering a shutdown.

The association has further demanded for mending the damage suffered by agriculture, horticulture, forest lands and water bodies in Goa due to mining operations, ensuring job security to mine workers, credible alternatives for employment and livelihood of the people dependent on mining, besides other demands.

“The government must take follow up action on Justice Shah Commission’s report to recover the loss, if any, caused to the state through legal recourse,” Fonseca added. [H]