NEW DELHI: Goa Mineral Ore Exporters' Association (GMOEA), an industry body dedicated to promoting, supporting, protecting, and increasing Goa’s mineral export trade, on Thursday shared its expectations in ‘Three Point Outline’ from the Central government in the year 2020.
In a strongly voiced and forcefully articulated message, the association underscored the key demands of the mining industry on the eve of the 2ndunfortunate anniversary of the mining stoppage in Goa which was imposed by the Supreme Court in terms of its judgment dated February 7, 2018.
On March 15, 2018, all mining activity in the state effectively ceased here. This stoppage had led to a grinding and crushing halt of mining leases in the state leading to huge cascading economic and social fallback.
At a well-attended media briefing in Delhi on Thursday, the GMOEA firmly emphasised its key demands for immediately restarting mining in Goa and restoring the shattered livelihoods of more than 3 lakh mining dependents in the state. The ‘Three Point Outline’constitutes the following: Mining Resumption: Immediate resumptionof mining operations in the State of Goa by taking necessary policy, legislative or judicial decision. Judicious implementation of projects under funds collected: All available and designated fiscal assistance package such as the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) funds etc, must be judiciously used for providing benefit under PMKKKY scheme to the mining dependents including relief to the helpless families grossly affected. Dump sale impracticable: The option of sale of dumps appears impractical at present due to market requirements of better-quality ores and this move surely does not entirely compensate for loss in employment due to mining stoppage.
According to Ambar Timblo, president, GMOEA, “The mining stoppage in Goa has had far reaching and deeply disturbing socio-economic impacts. Earlier, mining contributed over 20-25 percent to state economy. Today, post the halt for almost two years, the economic contribution is zero percent and liabilities are increasing day by day. We cannot overstate the urgency of restarting mining in the State. The reason behind our ‘Three-Point Outline’ is that we hope that the government, both at the centre and at the state level, which has been trying to address the issue would ensure that resumption of operations in Goa attains a higher priority.”
On a query, Timblo indicated that the State government and the industry were also hopeful of the recent judgment by the Supreme court dated 30/1/2020, regarding the ore mined prior to 15/3/2018 which has been permitted to be transported on condition of payment of royalty.
According to Sauvick Mazumdar, honorary secretary, GMOEA, “The people of Goa are the real sufferers of the 24 months past in which all the mining activities in this once prosperous state has been completely stopped. Goa mining industry has a history of several decades and has contributed immensely to the socio-economic upliftment of communities and has contributed major share in the state revenue. It is indeed unfortunate on the pace of redressal in the mining sector that lakhs of mining dependents are paying with their sanity and patience for no fault of theirs. We implore all the stakeholders to proactively take steps to restore the strength, fortune, and prosperity of Goa at the earliest.”
According to a recent report published by Centre for Monitoring of Indian Economy (CMIE), Goa is witnessing its worst phase in terms of employment generation, and the rate of unemployment of the state is at 34.5% which is the highest in the country. As a result of the mining stoppage, the livelihoods of more than 30 percent of the state’s population have gone. This includes from 70,000 direct employment closures and 2.5 lakh indirect ones. The larger cascading effect has resulted in lakhs of other job losses.
Stakeholders involved in machinery, logistics, ports, service sectors etc and most importantly the State and Central government have already lost the revenue of approximately Rs 7000 crores for the last two years of stoppage, approximately to the tune of Rs 3.4 billon (Rs 3400 crores) every year. With more than 12,000 trucks and 150 barges and ancillary units at a standstill, social and financial stress is a way of life for the support industry.