Panaji, April 3 (IANS) Mining companies should be able to "support" workers, instead of laying them off following the mining ban, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the Goa legislative assembly Wednesday.
Parrikar was responding to a question from Congress legislator Atanasio Monserrate over the fate of about 40,000 mining sector workers who have been rendered jobless following the ban enforce by the Supreme Court.
"The mining companies should be supporting them. They (companies) have earned from mining for over 20 years. I don't see why they cannot sustain their workers for at least two years. And the ban has been on only for six months," Parrikar said.
Mining in Goa has been banned by the Supreme Court since October last year, following a petition by local green lobby activists and noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
Last year, a judicial commission headed by Justice M.B. Shah had exposed a Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scam, in which politicians, bureaucrats and mining companies were linked.
Parrikar, whose government has already announced doles for unemployed mining workers, truck drivers and river barge owners working in the mining sector, also warned mining companies that the moment mining resumes, he would try to ensure that the displaced workers would have to be taken back by the companies.
"All those issues will be considered when mining resumes," Parrikar said.