Pithoragarh, September 20
Suspecting unemployment and possible lay-off of Nigam workers after the state government gives mining rights of major rivers of the state into private hands, thousands of Uttarakhand Van Vikas Nigam employees today held a massive rally against the proposed decision at SDM office in Haldwani.

“We are asking the government a simple question as to why it wants to give one man the entire profits of mining, instead of giving it to the thousands of workers of the Nigam,” said TC Pandey, a workers’ union leader in Kumaon region.
The protesting workers said if the work of mining in major rivers of the state went into private hands, they would face crisis of salary and it will affect the future of the children of nigam employees as their education and upbringing will be affected,” said the union leader.
The rally was attended by the woman wing of the Nigam workers union, besides Gaula Sangharsh Samiti.
According to the new proposal, the Kumaon Mandal Vikash Nigam has been assigned the task of giving 11 leases of mining, including six sanctioned and five likely to be sanctioned soon, into private hands.
“We will be benefited as we will get the amount in advance from the contractors. The nigam employees will be deputed to supervise the mining work,” said Deepak Rawat, MD of the nigam. According to Uttarakhand Van Nigam sources, the nigam deposits Rs 130 crore annually in government account out of this mining royalty.
“If the amount given by the Forest Department is included in this amount, it will be Rs 250 crore annually,” said Srikant Chandola, MD of the Uttarakhand Van Vikash Nigam.
The employees said if the mining rights were given into private hands, not only the environmental laws will be neglected but the common man will also face difficulties in getting these mineral for his use.

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