Hundreds of people dependent on the mining industry in Goa on Monday marched to Transport Minister Sudin Dhavalikar's residence near here over their demand for resumption of iron ore extraction activity in the state. The mining dependents, under the banner of Goa Mining People's Front (GMPF), walked to the private residence of Dhavalikar at Bandora village in North Goa district, about 40 km from here, and put forth their grievances. GMPF president Puti Gaonkar later said that Dhavalikar, the senior-most minister in Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's Cabinet, assured them that he would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi before January 16. Dhavalikar had earlier also assured to take up their woes with Modi, he said, adding that the march to his private residence on Monday was to follow up the issue.
Dhavalikar is the leader of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, which is an ally of the ruling BJP in Goa. The mining operations, a key source of revenue to the government, came to a standstill in March last year following a Supreme Court order which quashed 88 mining leases. The BJP-led state government has requested the Centre to amend the existing mining laws during the ongoing session of Parliament so that leases get extended. The GMPF, an umbrella group of mining dependents - whose livelihood has been affected - had recently staged three-day protests in New Delhi demanding resumption of mining activities in the state.