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The coastal state of Goa is back in the news as in the wake of the closure of mining operations in the state post the Supreme Court’s order, the Goa Barge Owners Association blocked the Mandovi river navigation channel today to protest against the government’s failure in providing relief to those affected.
Last month, the Supreme Court quashed the government’s order to renew the licenses of mining companies operating in the state after hearing a plea that alleged that a number of the lease-holders were illegally mining iron ore. The order stated that companies could carry out mining activities only till March 16 and fresh leases would be issued only after the companies get environment clearances. The court added that, the government has to start a fresh auction process. Since March 16, all mining operations in Goa have halted.
Today, hundreds of protestors began their agitation in Panaji where people who are dependent on the mining industry, including truck and barge owners, blocked several roads.
It was speculated that the protests would affect the operations of casinos anchored in river Mandovi as even the association’s president, Raymond D’Sa when asked whether the protest will not affect the casinos, said, “Goans are badly affected due to the SC order. Casinos are run by outsiders. There is no harm if their business gets affected for one day. The government should also realise our sufferings.”
However, PokerGuru spoke with Casino Pride who informed us that the casino operations have not been affected by the ongoing protests.
ANI had earlier reported that authorities in North Goa had issued prohibitory orders in parts of the city ahead of the protests and the district magistrate had even imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code on either side of the Mandovi Bridge from 6 am to 10.30 am today.
Nitin Gadkari, the Union minister for road transport, is expected to meet the stakeholders today.