Herald: Over thousand dependents march in city demanding mining resumption

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Over thousand dependents march in city demanding mining resumption

15 Mar 2019 05:19am IST
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15 Mar 2019 05:19am IST
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Submit memorandum to Chief Secretary urging govt to file an affidavit requesting SC to consider leases prospectively

Team Herald

PANJIM: Over a thousand  people from the mining belt, under the banner Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF) on Thursday staged a peaceful march in the State capital pressing for their demand of immediate resumption of mining in Goa, which has been shut since last 12 months affecting livelihood of nearly three lakh dependents.

As a last immediate resort, the GMPF has urged State Government to file an affidavit before the Supreme Court for consideration of Goa Daman and Diu (abolition and declaration of mining leases) Act 1987, with prospective effect. A petition challenging the Act is pending before the Apex Court since 1998.

The GFMP, on February 1, 2019, filed an intervention application seeking early hearing in the matter. This was followed by Union Mines Ministry’s interlocutory application also pleading for early hearing.

On Thursday, before commencing the peaceful march from SAG ground to Azad Maidan, a GMFP delegation led by its President Puti Gaonkar submitted a memorandum to Chief Secretary Parimal Rai requesting that the State immediately file an affidavit explaining that the leases be considered with prospective effect. The delegation also demanded that the State appoint a senior counsel to represent it in the Supreme

Court and not allow Additional Solicitor General Atamaram Nadkarni to defend the case.

Addressing the people after the meeting, Gaonkar said, “We have urged Chief Secretary to file an affidavit based on the State Legislative Assembly’s unanimous resolution, passed on August 3, 3018, urging the Parliament to bring in a legislative amendment for

resumption of the iron ore activities.”

“We have also brought to the notice of the Chief Secretary, the communication sent by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to the Union Mines Ministry emphasizing on the socio-economic crisis caused in Goa due to stoppage of mining and proposing legislative cure for early

resumption of the activities through appropriate amendment in the Abolition Act, 1987,” Goankar said.

Later, Gaonkar explained to the media persons that the three-bench of the Supreme Court has already ruled that the Abolition Act should be with prospective effect and based on that the matter has been referred to the Chief Justice of India.

“Even the Bombay High Court in the Qucxova Sinal Cundo vs Union of India (1998) matter, has ruled that Section 22 of the Abolition Act, 1987 has been read down to have only prospective effect; the Abolition Act shall also operate prospectively only,” the leader said.

Goankar said that as such, the date of grant of mining leases would be May 11, 1987 and thus the 50 years contemplated in Section 8A(3) of the MMDR Act, would have to be reckoned from May 11, 1987, which would end only in 2037.

On replacing Nadkarni to defend the State in the matter, Gaonkar alleged that the government view was not put across correctly before Supreme Court, as a result of which it quashed second renewals granted to 88 leases. 

“Ideally, the State’s and its Counsel’s views have to match; but in this case it is otherwise,” he added.

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