The five-decade-old mining industry in Goa is staring at another bout of uncertainty as the Supreme Court order of ban on iron ore extraction in the state came into effect on Thursday night.
The Mines and Geology Department has asked all operational mining lease holders to stop extracting fresh ore by evening, while transportation of ore was also stopped. Mining equipment was moved out of the facilities.
Goa agriculture minister Vijai Sardesai had on Wednesday said the state would face the "biggest" crisis when the ban comes into force.
Another senior Goa minister Sudin Dhavalikar said that Union minister Nitin Gadkari would visit Goa on March 20 and hold discussions with stakeholders in the industry in an attempt to find a solution to the crisis.
The mining and tourism industries are the key revenue earners for the coastal state.
A cabinet committee had decided to urge Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, currently in the US for medical treatment, to file a review petition in the apex court as a last-ditch effort to save the industry.
The state government fears that the sudden stoppage of extraction of fresh ore would result in two lakh people working at mining sites losing jobs.
The Supreme Court had last month quashed the second renewal of iron ore mining leases given to 88 companies in Goa in 2015.
The apex court said it was given time till March 15 to mining lease holders, who were granted second renewal in violation of its previous directions, to manage their affairs. —PTI