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Mining dependents urged to hold protest peacefully

PANAJI:: In view of Class XII examinations, which are in progress, the cabinet advisory committee (CAC) on Sunday held an emergency meeting in the North Goa Collectorate and discussed the issues arising out of the call given by the mining dependents for a protest against the mining shutdown on Monday.

Upping their ante against the mining shutdown following the Supreme Court order, truckers have given a call for a protest on March 19 to paralyse the National Highway 17 passing through the state. The mining dependents will be also holding a public meeting in Panaji on Monday.

Addressing the media on Sunday, CAC members PWD Minister Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar, Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai, Urban Development Minister Francis D’Souza, along with Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma, North Goa Collector Nila Mohanan and Director General of Police Dr Muktesh Chander appealed to the mining dependents to gather in Panaji after 10.30 am so as not to disturb the examination process and the flow of traffic.

Dhavalikar said, “We are not against the morcha. Hold it peacefully without disturbing the smooth flow of traffic and without creating chaos.” The protestors should desist from blocking roads, as exams are in progress and even a single student should not face inconvenience, he said.

He said all the MLAs are concerned about the plight of the mining dependents and efforts are on to find a solution to the issue of mining shutdown. He also urged the mining dependents not to bring along with them minors and not to park vehicles anywhere but only at the demarcated areas and appealed to them to assemble at the Campal parade grounds and address their meetings.

“Any chaos created will affect normal life and cause damage to property. Nobody should violate traffic rules and regulations by parking vehicles on Zuari or Mandovi bridges,” Dhavalikar said.

Appealing to the hoteliers to ask their guests to stay indoors at least for first half of the day on Monday, Dhavalikar said that the government will see to it that all tourists reach their destinations in time.

In view of the protest, the government has made all preparations and deployed heavy police force on the National Highways, at the airport and at railway stations and bus stands.

Meanwhile, placing all its hopes on the March 19 Goa visit of Union Minister for Transport and National Highways Nitin Gadkari for finding an amicable solution to the current mining imbroglio faced by the state, the local unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday appealed to the mining dependent people to withhold their mega rally in the city on May 19.

State BJP president and Rajya Sabha member Vinay Tendulkar, briefing the press at the party’s city headquarters, said that the mining dependents should not hold their scheduled rally in the city, as all attempts are being made to provide solution to this problem. He also acknowledged that due to the unexpected health issues of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar there was a delay in working out solution for the mining crisis.

“The Chief Minister, on February 14 had convened a meeting (of the Members of Parliament and the legislators from the mining belt) to discuss this issue, however was taken ill on the same day,” Tendulkar observed. He also stated that no BJP MLA or legislator of the political parties supporting the state government is planning to lead the proposed mega rally, pointing out that if the rally does take place, then due care would be taken to maintain law and order in the state.

Speaking further, the state BJP chief said that Gadkari will arrive in Goa late evening on March 19 and meet the BJP MLAs as well as state BJP officials so as to discuss mining problem with them. “The next day he will meet all stakeholders in the mining sector including members of truck owners as well as barge owners associations and representatives of the mine owners,” he informed, noting that the central minister will also discuss the issue with senior members of the political parties supporting the government.

“Furthermore, if the members of the opposition political parties desire to meet Gadkari and discuss the particular issue with him as well as give him related memorandum, then they would be given appointment for the purpose,” Tendulkar stated, maintaining that the decision as to whether the state government should go for auctioning of mines or constitute a state mining corporation would be taken only after discussions with Gadkari are complete.

The state BJP president said that he along with Union AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik and South Goa BJP parliamentarian Narendra Sawaikar had recently called on national BJP president Amit Shah requesting him to intervene in the mining issue and help the state government find a solution to the related problem. “The national BJP president is, therefore, sending down Gadkari to Goa so that a solution could be reached,” he noted.

The Union AYUSH Minister said that those responsible for the mining scam in Goa would be brought to book by the government. “However, this cannot be done immediately as law will take its course in due time,” he added.

Replying to a question, Tendulkar said that the BJP has full confidence in its coalition partners namely Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Goa Forward Party, and the BJP will contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls with them.

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