70 Sonshi kids out of school after mining closure


PANAJI: The mines, minerals & People (mm&P), an alliance of individuals, institutions and communities concerned and affected by mining, on Saturday claimed that the mining closure in Goa has severely affected the education of children in villages  in  the mining belt, and that in the Sonshi village itself over  70 children have not been able to attend their schools.

“When the mines were operational in the past, mine owners provided transport to these students studying in secondary as well as high schools, so that they could attend their schools,” the mm&P stated, adding that the roads to the schools are inaccessible due to the mining dumps placed near the villages.

“Now, the government needs to use the District Mineral Foundation  funds,” it demanded, mentioning that there is also a need to provide drinking water to these villages.

Executive council member of the mm&P, Goa, Ravindra Velip told a press conference in the city  that the Goa bench of Bombay High Court has quashed the DMF rules and directed the government to reframe the same.

“The directorate of mines and geology has already reframed the rules and the government should immediately place them before the court,” Velip demanded, noting that Goa has about Rs 186 crore of the DMF, of which Rs 10 crore have been utilised so far, as per the information provided on the website of the directorate.

“However, when we checked the ground reality, we were informed that due to mismanagement, the Rs 10 crore that have been spent, failed to benefit the affected community,” he mentioned.

The mm&P held a consultation workshop in the Sonshi village on Saturday and interacted with the locals.

Stating that the Sonshi village is totally unsafe for human habitation, the secretary general of the body, Ashok Shrimali said that a proper people-oriented Goa mining policy needs to be framed by the government, at the earliest, after consulting every stakeholder including those, who are affected due to the mining activities.

“We suggest to the government to carry out a detail study of every village and the area affected due to mining activities, for the last three decades,” he said, pointing out that the community-based mining or co-operative mining can be an ideal solution to start a sustainable mining in the state.