Goa: Mining dependents take out protest march in Panaji

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Panaji, Feb 8 (PTI) Hundreds of people dependent on Goa's mining industry took out a march here on Monday to protest against the failure of the Centre and the state government to resume iron ore extraction activities which have been shut in the state for last three years.

On February 7, 2018, the Supreme Court quashed renewal of 88 mining leases in Goa, resulting in the closure of the industry which used to be a major revenue earner for the coastal state.

On Monday, hundreds of mining dependents marched from the Panaji bus stand to the historic Azad Maidan here as a mark of protest, organised by Goa Mining People's Front (GMPF), an umbrella body of people dependent on the industry.

GMPF president Puti Gaonkar said the march was peaceful as the mining dependents gathered in the state capital only to send across a message to the governments (Goa and the Centre) that their patience is running out.

Since the last three years, the people whose livelihood depends on the mining activities, have been observing February 7 as a 'black day', he said.

The GMPF has tried all possible options to ensure the resumption of the mining industry, but nothing seems to be working, Gaonkar said.

'We approached everyone, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, but there is no solution as of now,' he said.

The state is also facing a tough time as its revenues have plummeted due to the closure of the mining industry, he said.

Gaonkar claimed around three lakh people are dependent on the industry and they have been seeking immediate resumption of the iron ore extraction operations in the state.

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