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Post iron ore mining ban, miners in Goa struggle to make both ends meet

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: September 29, 2019  | 13:01 IST

By Simran Arora Panaji, Sep 29 (PTI) Little did 39-year-old Santosh M Thambi know that his destiny had this in store for him. After marrying off his three sisters, the plans for his wedlock were shattered as he lost his source of income with the halt of mining operations in Goa. Now, not only he is unable to find a match for himself, he has been rendered penniless and is struggling to make his both ends meet. Thambi -- a machine operator with Chowgule and Company Ltd -- is one among those unfortunate 1.1 lakh people who were rendered jobless after mining came to a standstill in Goa in March last year after the Supreme Court quashed 88 leases and banned extraction of fresh iron ore. Another victim of the halt of mining operations is Yeshwant R Satgaonkar. He says that he is always haunted with the suicidal thoughts as in stark contrast to earlier days when he was withdrawing a salary of Rs 30,000 as a plant operator in a mining firm, he does not earn anything. Sandeep M Nirlekar is the sole bread earner in his five-member family. The old age of his father and the default of the personal loan which he had taken during his marriage adds to his woes. The body representing mining dependents Goa Mining People's Front (GMPF) said that it has been over a year now that the mining in Goa has stopped and the government should resolve the issue and commence the mining. "How they have to do (the resumption of mining) they should decide," GMPF president Puti Gaonkar said. Industry body Goa Mineral Ore Exporters' Association (GMOEA) President Ambar Timblo is optimistic that that issue would be resolved soon. "Indians by nature are always optimistic. Based on that we keep moving forward," Timblo said. Union mines minister Pralhad Joshi had recently said a Group of Ministers (GoM) will shortly submit a report on resumption of mining in Goa to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The GoM headed by Home Minister Amit Shah has been formed to examine the vexed issue of mining in Goa. The Group includes Union ministers for finance, environment, agriculture, mining, commerce and industries, petroleum and law. Thousands of people employed directly and indirectly in the sector have since held protests to get the state and central governments find a way to restart mining in Goa. PTI SID NAM MKJ

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