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Govt has no ‘political will’ to restart mining industry: GMPF

Panjim: For the first time since launching its State-wide agitation nearly 200 days ago, the Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF) said the BJP-led government has no “political will” to restart the iron ore mining industry, which is shut since last nine months, rendering around three lakh dependents jobless.

GMPF president Puti Gaonkar said the State BJP government should have followed up the matter with Centre as all the three MPs – Shripad Naik, Narendra Sawaikar and Vinay Tendulkar, have failed to do it periodically.

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

“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 adding ‘and it continues to be there even today, with no development’.

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.

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 to have life extended up to the year 2037.

When contacted, BJP state president and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Tendulkar said, “Enough is being done to ensure that the amendment to the mining laws is taken up on the floor of the Parliament. Central government is doing all the possible things and we are sure that the issue would be resolved during the Parliament session.” [H]

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