Goa’s debt rising in excess of Rs 20,000 crore because of mining ban in state

New Delhi:- The mining community of Goa — mining workers, people employed in the logistics industry, barges, ports, etc., is appealing to the Supreme Court, Central and State governments to restart mining in the state before the fourth consecutive mining season is gone for a toss in the state.

In the interest of revival of the state economy and protecting the livelihoods of mining dependents, immediate resurrection of mining is of utmost importance. The average debt of a nuclear family in Goa is estimated to be Rs 5 lakh and the debt of the state is roughly calculated to be over Rs 20,000 crore since all the mining activities in the state have been banned.

It has been close to three and a half years since all the mining activities in the state have been put on hold without a foresightedness of its effect on the people of Goa. It has affected the livelihood means for 15-20 per cent of Goans dependent on mining activities. The grievances and fears of the mining dependent people arising due to delayed justice to restart livelihood and the current developments about formation of Mining Corporation for auction of leases gives no confidence or clarity to Goans on how these processes initiated by the government will address the issue of livelihoods in the state.

Mining season starts from October and concludes in April before the monsoon hits the state. The decisive authorities are requested to look into resuming mining activities as soon as possible so that Goans do not lose the opportunity to uplift the socio-economic thread of the state this year. All mining activities in the state were suddenly ceased on March 16, 2018 following the Supreme Court’s decision affecting 3,00,000 lives in the state.

Goa’s mining sector is considered to be the backbone of Goa’s economy and is estimated to be by far the largest employment generating sector. Out of the 60,000 jobs that the mining sector in the state generates, only 7,000, at the moment have jobs in their hands. The mining industry for more than 70 years has been supporting the livelihood of Goans.

Trucks and other machinery worth crores of rupees have been idling away for almost 41 months now. These were the only source of livelihood and helped support families of mining dependents. Without mining activities, some of these assets have already been repossessed by the banks.

The unprecedented Covid pandemic has further intensified the wounds of Goans as the tourism sector, Goa’s biggest revenue and employment generation has also come to a standstill and is unlikely to revive in the near future. The downturn of the tourism sector has further aggravated the crippling economy of the State.

It is thus requested to recommence mining in the state with immediate effect before the fourth consecutive mining season and the opportunity to better the situation goes in unproductive, said the Goan mining community.