It is quite clear by now that the central government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party is not in favour of amending the Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act for resumption of mining activity in Goa.
A leader of Goa Mining People’s Front, which is an umbrella organisation of mining dependants in the state, Puti Gaonkar, has also sensed that BJP wants to give Goa’s mining leases to big industrialists and that is why the central government is mum on the demand for an amendment to the MMDR Act.
In fact, the mining dependants have realised this after the BJP’s central leaders failed to visit them during their three-day agitation, which was held in New Delhi, demanding amendment to the MMDR Act.
Former prime minister and Janata Dal (S) senior leader H D Deve Gowda, who visited the mining dependants on Thursday, has assured that he would raise the mining issue of Goa in the Parliament. Besides, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has also assured full support to the mining dependants.
Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’ on Saturday, Gaonkar said that the GMPF delegation met Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and party leader Praful Patel in New Delhi. “Pawar has assured us that his party will move a calling attention on Goa’s mining issue in the
Parliament,” he said.
When asked about the future course of action, as the central government has not taken cognisance of their agitation in the national capital, Gaonkar said that after Christmas, the mining dependants will hold a one-day Goa bandh. “We have called for a meeting on December 19 wherein a final call to hold Goa bandh and future course of action will be taken,” he said.
When pointed out that there is talk at the state government level to form a mineral development corporation, Gaonkar shot back, “If they wanted to form a corporation, why did the government not start the process long back?” “The government had unanimously resolved in the state assembly demanding an amendment to the MMDR Act and recommended it to the Centre. But after that, nothing has been moving forward,” he lamented.
It is also learnt that there could be a move at the central government level to make provision for a financial package to the mining affected in Goa in the next budget to pacify the mining dependants.
However, Gaonkar said that a financial package cannot be a solution to the present mining crisis in Goa and reiterated the demand for an amendment to the MMDR Act, as the mining dependants want a permanent solution.