: The Goa RTI Forum on Sunday demanded that the Department of Mines put all information pertaining to mining and its regulatory mechanism in the public domain, and should include the affidavit filed by the State government recently before the Supreme Court in the illegal mining case.

At a workshop organised by the forum at the International Centre Goa (ICG) on Sunday, activists and citizens expressed dissatisfaction over the unavailability of information on the mining issue, particularly when the Shah Commission report had clearly noted that all mining-related information must be put in the public domain.

Participants at the forum said that mining in Goa must be to the extent of 10 to 12 million tonnes per annum as against the disastrous level at 55 million tonnes, for it to be sustainable.

They debated the findings of the Shah Commission, particularly the over-exploitation in recent years without looking at the devastation caused to the environment, water resources and traditional occupations and lives of the people living in the mining belt.

Grievances were raised by many people, including workers and truckers, who were hit by the ban imposed by the Supreme Court in an interim order. The stakeholders blamed anti-mining activists and non-governmental organisations, holding them responsible for the loss of livelihood.

A broad consensus was arrived at urging the stakeholders to join hands with NGOs and activists and approach the State and the Centre to work out a long-term solution to the stalemate.

Social activist Satish Sonak suggested that the affected people, the general public and NGOs join hands and approach the Supreme Court for a workable solution to give relief to the stakeholders of mining, particularly the workers and truckers. -operations, barge operations, etc.

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