Rahul Gandhi raises hopes of Goa fishermen, miners
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday promised to fulfil 24 demands placed before the party by the National Fish Workers Forum (NFF) and assured a delegation from the Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF) that the party was committed to help resume mining in the iron-ore rich state.
The Congress president assured the NFF of setting up a dedicated union fisheries ministry and including their demands in its manifesto, Olencio Simoes of the NFF said.
The NFF also wants the withdrawal of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) 2019 notification. “The notification removed the earlier provisions for demarcating fishing villages, sand dunes, turtle-nesting sites, khazans” (low lying mudflats) and instead “opened up the coastline for industrial development”, Simoes said.
Meeting the delegation from the GMPF, Gandhi assured them that the Congress was committed to help resume mining in a sustainable manner in Goa.
With mining being the chief source of income to 75,000 families, its resumption is a politically sensitive issue in Goa.
Due to irregularities, the Supreme Court had cancelled 88 mining licenses in March 2018. The GMPF is pressuring political parties to seek a legislative solution to overturn the cancellation and extend the validity of the leases. GMPF expressed disappointment in the state government whose efforts to push an amendment of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 have yielded no results so far.