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Goa mining dependents claim BJP is not serious in resumption of the industry

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Panajim: With the annoying delays in mining resumption, the people dependent on the industry and opposition parties have expressed their reservations over Central and State government’s willingness to bring this industry back on the track.

Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF) and Opposition Congress party has said that the BJP leaders including Members of Parliament, who are elected from Goa, are not pushing enough to get the Amendment to Mining Act passed in the Parliament, that could resume the activity.

BJP Goa Unit President Vinay Tendulkar has however, ruled out the allegations claiming that “enough is being done to ensure that the Amendment to the mining laws are taken up on the floor of the Parliament.”

State is witnessing a complete halt in its Iron Ore mining industry after Supreme Court in the month of February this year quashed 88 mining leases.

GMPF President Puti Gaonkar said that the union had to follow up the matter with Centre as all the three MPs – Shripad Naik (LS), Narendra Sawaikar (LS) and Vinay Tendulkar (RS) – have failed to do it periodically.

“I went thrice to Delhi and realized that the file seeking amendment to the mining law is not moving. I realized that our MPs are not doing anything,” said Gaonkar, who has met union ministers including Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar besides others in Delhi during his visits.

“Every time, we have to follow up the matter. When I visited Delhi on November 29, the file was still in the office of Union minister of Mines,” he said.

Gaonkar said that BJP do not have political will to push the files. “If BJP leaders wanted, they could have got the file processed expeditiously,” he said.

The union leader said that the mining dependents who are irked with the BJP will now start visiting the private residences of party’s MLAs asking them to pay for their monthly wages.

Gaonkar demanded that the BJP MPs should hold meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Party’s National President Amit Shah along with the stakeholders to ensure that the mining act is amended.

The stakeholders and State government is looking at amending Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act and Goa, Daman and Diu Mining Concessions (Abolition and Declaration of Mining leases Act, 1987) to the existing mining leases will have life extended up to the year 2037.

State’s main opposition Congress party has joined chorus with the mining dependents. Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President Girish Chodankar said that entire plot behind sabotaging the mining industry was to keep the ‘bahujan samaj’ (lower caste) economically weak.

He said that the BJP was fooling people in the name of mining resumption to gain votes.”

“BJP is not serious in allowing mines to start. They are only doing the drama to show that they are interested in starting the mining,” Chodankar alleged.

When contacted, Tendulkar said that State and Central government are doing enough to ensure that the mining resumes.

On asked whether the amendment would be moved during upcoming Parliamentary Session, Tendulkar remained non-committal.

“We will have to see. We are trying our level best to get it for the upcoming Parliamentary Session. We are trying our level best,” he replied.

The BJP leader said that all the MPs are trying their best. “No one knows to what extend we have been trying. The move for resumption of mining activity is heading in a proper direction,” he said.

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People to react for LS, if mining doesn’t start: Vijai Sardesai

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GOA: BJP ally  Goa Forward Party (GFP) on Monday said that the people will “react during Lok Sabha elections”, if BJP fails to resolve the impending crisis on the mining industry.

GFP President and State Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai also equated the current mining issue to the “regional aspirations”.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi says  ek bharat, shreshta bharat. His statement is with regional aspirations in mind. If any party is not able to meet regional aspirations then we will not be able to get support of the people,” the minister said talking to reporters in Margao town of South Goa on Monday.

“Even the PM says so (about regional aspirations). So what is regional aspirations? Mining is the backbone of economy. It should start,” he added.

 “If mining crisis is not solved before Lok Sabha election, then people will react towards the BJP candidates,” he said.

Sardesai said that no amount of fire fighting by parties like GFP to support BJP candidate during Lok Sabha polls will work.

“Whatever statements we might make, the people will react during Lok Sabha election. How will you get the votes, if you don’t work to solve the issues of the people?,” he questioned.

Around two lakh mining dependents under the banner of Goa Mining People’s Front are agitating demanding resumption of the industry which has been shut down since last year due to Supreme Court order.

Ahead of historic Opinion Poll Day celebrations, Sardesai said the identity politics has gained much importance.

Goa had witnessed historical opinion poll in which the people had voted against the merger of former Portuguese territory into neighbouring Maharashtra.

 Sardesai said that on the eve of opinion poll day celebrations,  we need that the heroes who have maintained our identity should be recognized.

“If they are not recognized, people will not be with you. We (GFP) speak about identity politics. Goa retained its Goemkarponn (Goanness) due to Opinion Poll. If we had not to win that (Opinion poll), then we would have been just one taluka of Maharashtra,” he said.

“If we don’t accept it and don’t recognize in the history, then people will not be happy with you,” he added.

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Solution for mining impasse soon: Shah

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New Delhi: The  solution for current impasse on the industry would be brought about soon by the Central government, BJP National President Amit Shah told the delegation of Mining dependents and MPs.

The delegation of Goa Mining People’s Front along with all the three Members of Parliament – Shripad Naik, Narendra Sawaikar and Vinay Tendulkar, met Shah in New Delhi on Sunday.

GMPF President Puti Gaonkar, in a statement issued has said that Shah mentioned that the data about the loss of jobs, idle trucks and barges and bank Non Performing Assets is worrying.

“Shah assured that a solution to the present mining impasse shall be brought about soon by the Central government,” Gaonkar added.

“During the meeting on Sunday, Shah stated that the issue of livelihood faced by lakhs of Goans due to stoppage of mining activities in the State is known by all and that Chief Minister of Goa Manohar Parrikar and MPs of Goa have been following up with the Central government for a solution,” he added.

The mining industry in Goa has come to a standstill since March last year after Supreme Court quashed 88 Iron Ore extraction leases in the coastal state.

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Three critical in Cement Block manufacturing factory blast at Tuem

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Three workers were critically injured in a last at Cement block manufacturing unit at Tuem

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GOA: Three workers were critically injured and six others had miraculous escape with minor injuries after a blast in a cement block manufacturing factory at Tuem Industrial Estate, this afternoon.

The incident happened around 12.15 noon when more than dozen of workers were present in the factory.

Pernem Police Inspector Sandesh Chodankar said that all three workers who were injured in the blast were taken to Goa Medical College and Hospital.

“Their situation is critical and being treated,” he said.

While Fire and Emergency Services rushed to the spot immediately, they cordoned off the place and extinguished the fire.

Chodankar said that the exact cause of blast would be known only after State Factories and Boilers Department submits its report.

He said that the offence of endangering human life would be filed against the owner and management of the factory.

Tuem Industrial Estate is located in Pernem taluka, which is bordering Maharashtra.

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