Panaji, July 1 (IANS) While the Goa government repeatedly blames the central government for neglecting the plight of over a lakh people rendered jobless due to the mining ban, Goa Governor B.V. Wanchoo wants industry captains in Goa to convert the adversity into opportunity.
The governor was speaking at the annual general body meeting of Goa’s top business group, the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), more than a week after Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a Rs.3,000-crore financial package for those affected by the ban on Goa’s mining sector.
“Look at the issue of stoppage of mining activities not as a problem, but as an opportunity to think of fresh avenues and ventures so that we are able to pull Goa out of this economic situation,” Wanchoo said.
“While the government and people affected by the ban on mining activities have been trying to seek a solution to this problem, we also need to examine and explore on priority alternative opportunities for employment for the people and for sustainable economic progress,” Wanchoo said.
“We therefore have to turn our attention to new areas of economic ventures by effectively and intelligently utilizing the available human and material resources,” the governor added.
Mining in Goa has been banned by the Supreme Court since October last year, bringing all activity – including transportation of already mined ore – to a halt. The ban was imposed by the Supreme Court on the basis of a petition filed an envrionmental NGO, the Goa Foundation, represented by senior advocate at the apex court Prashant Bhushan, which cited large-scale irregularities in Goa’s mining sector.
The state government has now claimed that the ban, which has been in place for more than eight months, has rendered nearly a lakh people jobless. It has also asked the central government for a financial relief package for those affected by the complete halt on mining activity.