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Apex court order brings cheer to BGML workers

The Supreme Court’s nod to the Union government’s plan to flat a global tender at the earliest to revive Bharat Gold Mines Ltd. in Kolar Gold Fields brings relief to over 3,500 mine workers.

The mines were closed 12 years ago, a decision that has been fought by BGML employees and others in several courts. It has set aside the Karnataka High Court Division Bench order which decreed that the mines should be revived and the Union government must explore possibilities of running the mine on its own, ruling out the option of tendering.

Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises K.H. Muniyappa said in a release that his government had decided in 2006 to revive the mines. BGML was shut down in 2001 by the NDA government.

Welcoming the apex court order, Mr. Muniyappa said: “The landmark judgment will pave the way for revival of the entire district of Kolar and the BGML employees in particular.” Mr. Muniyappa made it clear that the government would not run the mines.

The Karnataka High Court, while hearing a petition by the Workers Forum of the BGML had struck down the Centre’s decision, but the forum went to the apex court, which ordered restarting of the mines.

Mr. Muniyappa termed the judgement “historic”. The government will call for global tenders in which the workers forum could also bid, he said. “The highest bidder would be given the job of running the mines. It is the responsibility of the bidder to pay back wages to the 3,500 employees, who were working at the time of the closure.”

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