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Mining dependents to sit on hunger strike in Goa

Panaji: Mining-dependent people in Goa would sit on a day-long hunger strike here on Friday over their demand for resumption of the industry in the state.

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Goa Mining People's Forum (GMPF), an umbrella organisation of people dependent on the mining industry, has been protesting against the closure of the iron ore extraction activity since March 16 this year.

The Supreme Court had in February quashed the second renewal of 88 mining leases following which the state's key revenue generating industry came to a halt.

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GMPF president Puti Gaonkar said they have been holding a 'chain hunger strike' at five places across the coastal state since last 94 days.

"We have now decided to sit on a mass token one-day hunger strike at Panaji on October 5 to highlight the plight of people dependent on this industry for their livelihood. We expect around 3,000 minng-dependents to participate in the protest," Gaonkar said.

He said people want the central government to come up with an immediate solution to the crisis by amending the existing law concerned so that mining leases could be renewed.

Gaonkar invited MPs from Goa Shripad Naik and Narendra Sawaikar (both Lok Sabha) and Vinay Tendulkar (Rajya Sabha) to support people in their protest.

The state Assembly had on July 24 passed a resolution urging the Centre to amend the Goa, Daman and Diu Mining Concessions (Abolition and Declaration as Mining Leases) Act.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue in August and had also written a letter to Union Minister of Mines Narendra Singh Tomar last month, requesting to amend the Act.

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