Mining firms stop school buses, 70 kids stuck at home

PANAJI: Around 70 children in Sonshi, and several others in the state’s mining belt, are unable to go to school as mining companies, after their operations came to a standstill following the Supreme Court order, stopped providing them transport.

It is the state government’s responsibility in these circumstances to immediately provide free transport to these schoolchildren as also water to these areas, Ashok Shrimali of the voluntary organisation mines, minerals and people said. Read more

TimesView Mining areas like Sonshi have always faced the brunt of government neglect, first when they were being smothered in pollution and now when their children have been deprived school bus service and are forced to stay home. The government provides buses to aided schools under the Bal Rath scheme, why does it not extend the scheme to government schools as economically underprivileged children are more likely to go to these schools.
“We held a daylong workshop today with mining affected people from across Goa and the main issues affecting them presently is no transport for their children to go to school and lack of water. Mining companies have stopped providing both as their operations have shut. They say they are now contributing towards the district mineral foundation (DMF) instead,” Ravindra Velip of mines, minerals and people said.

Velip said it is shameful that children are unable to go to school because of lack of transport. “It is the primary responsibility of the state government to provide these basic requirement and they should do so immediately. The state cannot wash its hands off the responsibility,” he added.

Shrimali said that the state government also urgently needs to carry out a study on the groundwater situation in the mining belt.

“Goa has a DMF of about Rs 186 crore, of which Rs 10 crore have been utilised so far. When we checked the ground reality, we were informed that due to mismanagement the Rs 10 crore which was spent has failed to benefit the affected community,” said Shirmali.

Courtesy: The Times of India