Goa to give financial help to the mining ban hit

Last Updated: Mon, Jan 28, 2013 10:40 hrs

Panaji, Jan 28 (IANS) The Goa government is working on a financial package for people in the state's mining belt who have lost jobs or ancillary businesses following the ban on iron ore mining, Governor Bharat Vir Wanchoo announced Monday.

Every person rendered unemployed by the mining ban will now be able to avail of a fiscal relief package every month to help tide over the crisis, until a way is found out of the imbroglio, the governor said in his inaugural address to the Goa assembly.

"Those dependant on mining who have lost their jobs due to the ban will get a relief package, ranging from Rs.3,000 to Rs.6,000 per month," Wanchoo said.

He said the state government has set aside Rs.15 crore per month for relief measures targeted at the part of Goa's population dependent on mining.

"My government is in the process of formulating a policy where Rs.15 crore per month will be spent on relief packages for mining-dependent people," Wanchoo said.

While the mining companies are contesting the Supreme Court's ban on mining activity, several thousand people have banded together to form the Goa Mining Dependant Workers' Forum, demanding that the ban be revoked and mining activity immediately resumed. The forum includes owners of trucks and barges, and employees of mining companies.

The exact number of persons affected by the mining ban has not yet been ascertained by the state government, although mining companies have started retrenching employees and trimming work force lists as the ban runs into its fourth month.

The Supreme Court banned mining in Goa soon after a Rs.35,000-crore illegal mining scam was exposed by a judicial commission appointed by the central government.

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