Mining firms should compensate workers, says Goa MLA

Panaji, March 20 (IANS) Goa’s rich mining companies and the government should jointly pay compensation to mining workers who were laid off due to a Supreme Court-enforced ban, a BJP legislator demanded Wednesday in the assembly.

“The government should pay half the compensation money and recover the other half from the mining companies. The mining company owners are becoming irresponsible,” Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) legislator Vishnu Wagh said.
Goa’s BJP government earlier this month had launched an umbrella compensation scheme for mining-dependant population of the state.
While truck owners were given a relief of up to Rs.12,000 a month, those who were laid off would be paid half their gross salary, among other schemes.
Wagh said that with the Goa government alone forking out money to pay for the compensation, it appeared that the administration was responsible for the events which led to the ban on mining last year.
“The mining company owners are becoming irresponsible. What is the answerability that the mine owners should have?” Wagh asked.
“Mining companies have made money over the last 70 years. They can still pay salaries to their employees for three years at least even with the mines closed down,” Wagh said.
A judicial commission headed by former Supreme Court Judge M.B. Shah has pegged Goa’s mining loss at Rs.35,000 crore.
The Supreme Court later banned mining in the state five months ago, following a petition by local NGOs along with noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan.