Residents of KGF await silver lining

Hope to keep houses, get jobs in new set-up at gold mines

The order of the Supreme Court that global tenders can be called for reviving the Bharat Gold Mines Limited (BGML) in KGF has been met with cautious optimism in the border town.

While restarting operations to extract gold would again provide jobs to the locals, thousands of workers who have their houses here fear that they may lose their places of dwelling, if they are acquired for the project on its revival.

It is said the global tender process will take six months to a year to begin and the whole mining area may be handed over to the successful bidders.

There were 3,000 workers in the Central government-owned firm when it was closed 13 years ago. While many have migrated to their native places in Krishnagiri, Velur, Dharmapuri, Gudiyatham and Chennai in Tamil Nadu, others have gone in search of jobs in mines elsewhere in the country.

But there are a number of others who are not able to leave the houses given to them by BGML for their own reasons and have taken to other professions.

Many have taken up jobs in garages, as masons, securitymen, electricians and painters. Their fervent hope is that one each from the families gets a job and they get to keep their houses.

The not-so-spacious homes have all modern facilities though. Children of the former workers have gone in search of greener pastures outside. Some of the residents do hope that reviving BGML may provide jobs to their children. 

Estheramma of the Bandline Telugu colony, who retired from a menial job in the BGML hospital, hopes that someone in the family (her son) gets a job and they get to keep their house. Santosh of the same colony, whose uncle worked in BGML, shares the same opinion.

The mines colony here has 11,000 homes, including the 3,000 belonging to the workers. Those in the colony include families of those who had retired from BGML before it closed down. The BGML is in the process of registering the houses in the names of the workers. Sources told Deccan Herald that the requisite fees had also been collected from the owners.  

The residents expect that the government lays conditions for the tenders to the advantage of the workers’ families who have stayed back in KGF. Only time will tell whether that happens.

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