PM likely to meet Goa delegation over mining resumption

Panaji, Feb 5 : A year after the Supreme Court banned mining in the coastal state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to meet a delegation of mining dependents from Goa along with the party's local MPs and ruling MLAs from the state's mining belt in the national capital on February 6, in a bid to restart mining.

The Congress has claimed that the meeting was nothing but another platform for a 'jumla' by Modi ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, as a means to placate the politically crucial mining belt, which accounts for more than half a dozen assembly segments.

A BJP MP, requesting anonymity told IANS that while the Prime Minister's Office had confirmed an audience with Modi, the exact time has not been conveyed yet.

"The PMO has assured that Modi ji will meet the Goa delegation, but we have not been informed of an exact time yet," said the BJP MP.

The delegation is expected to include Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik, South Goa MP Narendra Savoikar, state BJP president and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Tendulkar, ruling legislators and president of the Goa Mining People's Front Puti Gaonkar.

The development comes two days after the Front published advertisements in leading media platforms, claiming that the the mining ban had driven hundreds of thousands of people in Goa dependent on the mining industry to economic hardship.

Reacting to the development, state Congress president Girish Chodankar said that not much could be hoped from the BJP-led Central and state government, which had not taken measures to restart mining for nearly a year after it was banned.

"I can sum up what will happen at the meeting with one word.

It will be another jumla," Chodankar said.

The mining ban issue has been hanging fire in Goa, ever since the apex court banned extraction and transportation of iron ore from 88 mining leases from February last year, while also directing the state government to re-issue mining leases.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a video interaction with with party workers in Goa last month had assured that the Central government was looking for a "judicial solution" to the mining impasse.



Source: IANS