The Goa Mining People’s Front on Thursday demanded that the Chief Secretary on behalf of the state government should engage a new senior counsel and file a supporting affidavit before the Supreme Court within 15 days, seeking an amendment to the Goa, Daman and Diu Mining Concessions (Abolition and Declaration as Mining Leases) Act, 1987, with prospective effect for resuming mining operations in the state.
The demand was forcefully put forth at a public meeting, which was attended by over 1000 mining dependants at the Azad Maidan in Panaji.
Earlier, the mining dependants marched through the city demanding immediate steps from the state government for the early resumption of mining.
Addressing the mining dependants at the historic Azad Maidan, GMPF president Puti Gaonkar said that there have been differences in opinion between present counsel Atmaram Nadkarni, who is also Additional Solicitor General of India, and the state government.
“I have nothing personal against him, but the mining dependants fear that Nadkarni may not present the Goa mining case cogently before the Supreme Court; he has already expressed his opinion that auction is the only option for mining resumption. But the government has indicated that it wants the Goa, Daman and Diu Mining Concessions (Abolition and Declaration as Mining Leases) Act to operate prospectively giving a lease period to operate till 2037,” he said.
Gaonkar said the mining dependants have submitted a memorandum to the Chief Secretary, seeking appointment of a new counsel to represent the case in the best interest of mining dependants.
“We have urged the Chief Secretary that he should, on behalf of the state, file an affidavit before the SC
quoting the unanimous resolution taken by the state legislative assembly on August 3, 2018. The assembly resolution had urged the Parliament to bring in necessary amendment to laws for immediate resumption of mining in the state.”
The memorandum has also made a reference to the letters written by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to the Centre emphasising on the socioeconomic crisis brought about by the mining closure, he said.
The GMPF chief refrained from spelling out the forum’s stand on supporting political parties at the elections, adding that it is up to the mining dependants to decide to which political party they should vote.
However, he affirmed that the GMPF’s agitation will continue till mining operations are resumed.
Gaonkar said that they explored several ways to convince the Centre on resuming mining in Goa, including a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which proved to be unfruitful.
Now, filing a supportive affidavit before the apex court and changing the counsel could be the last resort for restarting mining activities, he reckoned.