Gokuldas Kamat, sarpanch of Velguem village panchayat, said the mood in the village even in the festive season is sombre as people are in no mood to celebrate.
    
Before the mining ban, Ganesh Chaturthi and Diwali used to be celebrated with great joy. The entire village used to be lit up with celebratory mood all around. All of that changed with the mining ban and there have not been celebrations at all for two years now, he said.
    
"It is now a battle of survival for the people as I know personally that they are finding it difficult to make ends meet. The celebrations would happen once their livelihoods are back on track," he said.
    
The enthusiasm that usually surrounds a festive season has gone missing in the mining belt and people are following it now just as tradition, said Mohan Goankar, ex-sarpanch of Kirlapale village.
    
"We have nothing to celebrate for the last two years as our source of livelihood has been taken away for no fault of ours. We have been hoping against hope, but promises made to us have not been fulfilled," he said.
    
Mining is yet to resume in Goa, despite Supreme Court lifting the ban six months back with certain conditions.
    
On October 1, the state government had announced Goa Grant of Mining Leases Policy and said it will renew mining leases on case-to-case basis. However, no mining lease has been renewed yet.

Goa Mining Peoples Front, an umbrella organisation of mining ban affected people, has said that the policy lacks a clear road map on when the mining business, which used to be the biggest contributor towards the state exchequer prior to ban, will restart.
    
Once mining resumes and our lives come back on track, then it will be the real Diwali and a day of celebration for us, Gaonkar said.
    
Echoing similar sentiments, Anil Vernekar, principal of Siddharth Bandodkar Higher Secondary, said even children have been affected with the mining ban.
    
Children usually look forward to festivals as it is a day of celebration. However, over the last two years they have suffered the most and one really feels for them. The spirit of the festival is all gone, Vernekar said.
    
"It is really unfortunate that their parents really cannot afford to celebrate festivals anymore due to the ban. But the children are very understanding as I assume they have seen their parents struggle to give them food and good education even during these tough times. I hope the government finds a solution and provides relief to the people," he said.
    
People have been seeking resumption of mining business in the state at the earliest through various letters to the Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Environment Minister and Goa Chief Minister, as their lives have been affected the most due to over two-year-long ban.
    
The viability of Goa's mining business, as the state produces low grade iron ore, is already being questioned by many due to continuous slump in international prices of ore.

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