A delegation of Goa’s mining workforce, who were in Delhi to lobby for restarting Goa’s banned mining industry, Tuesday said they met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Minister for Mines Dinsha Patel in Parliament House.
A press statement issued by the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) which, along with mining companies, is working to lift the mining ban, said the prime minister and Patel said that the central government shared their concern. “Environmental concerns should be sincerely addressed. All should remember that poverty is the greatest polluter,” an AITUC statement said quoting the prime minister.
Mining in Goa was banned by the Supreme Court in October last year, bringing all activity – including transportation of already mined ore – to a halt. The ban was imposed by the Supreme Court on the basis of a petition filed by environmental NGO, the Goa Foundation, represented by lawyer Prashant Bhushan. “The Honorable prime minister gave a patient hearing to the Goa Mining People’s Front delegation.
The prime minister assured the delegation that his government is fully sympathetic towards the pain and sufferings presently undergone by the mining dependents in Goa. He assured that all efforts will be made by his government to ensure immediate resumption of mining operations in Goa,” says the AITUC statement. Patel, the statement says, assured the delegation that his ministry would “make all-out efforts to ensure early resumption of mining operations to save and protect the state of Goa from economic ruin and human tragedy”.
The Goa government claims that over a lakh people have been affected by the mining ban.