Panaji– The BJP is keen on dragging the controversy over closure of mining in Goa until the Lok Sabha polls to cash in on people’s anxieties, said state Congress president Girish Chodankar on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of a “judicial solution” — 11 months after the Supreme Court banned all mining in Goa — is a farce, said Chodankar.
Speaking to reporters, Chodankar said the onus of wrecking the mining industry with a hurried ban lay at the doorstep of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and not the Congress.
“On mining, the Prime Minister spoke of a ‘judicial solution’. Why could he not have said it 11 months ago? Mining industry workers as well as small stakeholders are jobless for 11 months. This is nothing but a farce,” Chodankar said, referring to Modi’s assurance given on Sunday to BJP booth workers via video conference.
The mining ban issue has been hanging fire in Goa ever since the apex court banned extraction and transportation of iron ore from 88 mining leases from February last year, while also directing the state government to reissue mining leases.
This is the second ban that the mining industry, the mainstay of the state’s economy, suffered in the last seven years.
The first time the mining industry suffered a setback was when Parrikar imposed a “temporary ban” on mining, after a judicial inquiry unearthed a Rs 35,000 crore illegal mining scam in which mining magnates, Congress leaders as well as bureaucrats were linked.
The ban was immediately followed by revocation of environment clearances by the United Progressive Alliance government.
Finally, a ban was imposed by the apex court in 2012.
A Special Investigation Team tasked with the responsibility of probing the findings of the judicial commission has been criticised by the Opposition as well as civil society groups for delay in nailing the culprits involved in the scam.
Chodankar said the onus of triggering a series of bans lay with Parrikar, quoting the Chief Minister’s comment at an award ceremony in 2012.
“Parrikar stopped mining and said as much on the national platform. The responsibility lies at the door of the BJP and Manohar Parrikar. They do not want the common people, who were living off the mining industry, to do well. They have destroyed their livelihood,” Chodankar said. (IANS)