‘Mining Industry’s Revival is Crucial for Goa’s Economic Growth’
One-fifth of Goa's population is dependent on mining and this year's mining season will start just after the monsoon. If the highest judiciary does not take an urgent decision on the resumption of mining in the upcoming hearing, the third consecutive mining year will go to waste.
Immediate resumption of Goa’s mining industry is crucial now to save the state’s economy and revive the livelihood of over 3 lakh people who are directly and indirectly dependent on it for survival.
Those involved in mining in Goa have been asking for a prudent decision that will allow early resumption of mining and extraction activities in the state before the loss of yet another mining season.
On the importance of a fast decision from the apex court, Balaji Gauns, President, Dharbandora Taluka Truck Owner’s Association, said: “One-fifth of Goa’s population is dependent on mining and this year’s mining season will start just after the monsoon. If the highest judiciary does not take an urgent decision on the resumption of mining in the upcoming hearing, the third consecutive mining year will go to waste. We are highly troubled by the continuous postponement of allotted hearing dates and repeated issuance of new ones by the hon’ble courts without any conclusive decisions being reached.
“Immediate resumption of Goa mining industry is crucial now to save the state’s economy and revive livelihood of over 3 lakh people who are directly and indirectly dependent on mining for survival.”
Goans, particularly those belonging to the mining community, have been a long-standing victim of the mining ban in the state.
Mining workers, stakeholders of the logistics industry, labourers at barges and ports – all have been praying for a solution to the over 24-month-long ban on mining and extraction activities in the state.
Now, as the Supreme Court patiently hears pleas against the mining ban on September 25, the people of Goa plead for a prudent decision that will allow early resumption of its mining and extraction activities in the state before another mining season is lost, say stakeholders.
Goa is witnessing the worst-ever economic slowdown. The outburst of the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, accompanied by the nationwide lockdown, triggered a fiscal crunch in the state. Burdened with huge loans, the state government has taken drastic steps to tide over the fiscal deficit which include a freeze on new government jobs and infrastructure projects.
In Goa, there are only two major sources of livelihoods – mining and tourism.
A terminal decline is seen in tourism, which will remain the same for next 3-4 quarters as people are not going to plan trips to Goa like earlier.
Mining, the second largest job provider in the state, is on halt since March 2018 now. Corrective steps need to be taken in the sector, but it will not happen overnight and help to grow the economy of Goa.
With mining a season-specific activity that starts at the end of each monsoon, Goans, as the rainy season slowly wraps up across the country, hope that 2020 will not be like the previous two years in becoming yet another year when mining activities were banned following a Supreme Court order in March 2018.
As the economic distress in the state escalates further due to the Covid-19 pandemic, over 3 lakh Goans who lost their source of income to the ban are hoping for a sustainable solution that will let them work and earn their livelihood with dignity. The urgency to arrive on a decision needs to be pressed further so that companies and stakeholders can adequately prepare for resumption of the undertaking in the state.