Seek intervention of Chief Justice, protection of livelihood of over three lakh people; Petitioner fears that Goa will be a land of social ills in the absence of livelihood
PANJIM: Nearly 1900 persons from across the globe have signed a special petition seeking the intervention of the Chief Justice of India in ensuring that iron ore mining activities continue in Goa after March 15, thereby protecting the livelihood of over three lakh people, who are directly or indirectly dependent on the business for their survival.
The ‘Save livelihood of three lakh mining dependents in Goa’ petition was set up on the Change.org website, last week, following the Supreme Court having quashed second renewals of 88 iron ore mining leases and directing suspension of operations from March 16 onwards.
The petition has been launched by one Vikas Gaonkar and has been signed by close to 1900 people (till the time of writing this report). It will be submitted to the Chief Justice of India, President of India, Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Goa.
“The reason for starting this petition is to ensure that stoppage of major economic activity in the State should not lead to a humanitarian crisis in this paradise on Earth that is Goa. The mining industry and the local population in Goa have peacefully co-existed in the State for the past seven decades and any disruption to this normal, peaceful fabric of society will be detrimental and have very far reaching effects which can be catastrophic to the wellbeing of all the mining dependents and the society,” the petition states.
The Petition says that the Supreme Court order dated February 7, 2018 cancelling mining leases in Goa and bringing mining to a grinding halt from March 16 will deal a severe blow to the lives of three lakh mining dependents in the State. “A 70-year-old industry which was the bread and butter of the mining dependents has been pronounced a death blow,” it stated.
It further mentions that while passing its verdict and ordering stoppage of mining, the Apex Court did not consider the impact and what will happen to lakhs of lives who depend on the industry. The mining industry in Goa is the only means of livelihood for nearly 60,000 people (directly and indirectly employed), with a multiplier effect felt on various sections of the population to the extent of approximately three lakhs.
“The solution lies in continuing the mining operation post March 15 which shall provide much needed solace to the 3 lakh mining dependents in the State. Urge the authorities to kindly intervene and allow the continuation of mining operations in the State of Goa till a proper plan is in place for long term continuation of mining operations in the State,” the petition stated.
The petition fears that the State will be a land of social ills in the absence of livelihood. “What will happen to the families once all mining shuts? No earnings, no food, no education for children etc. This will lead to frustration that may result in suicides, alcohol abuse, resorting to criminal activities etc. Goa a state which is the safest in the country and regarded as a paradise will be a land of social ills,” he said.