Current Affairs

Parrikar does a ‘flip-flop’ on illegal mining

In an unexpected acceptance which is contrary to his previous stance on illegal mining when in Opposition, the Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that there are no illegal mines in the state but instead rampant illegal extraction of ore is largely contributing to illegal exports from the state.

“The mines in the state are operating legally but there are irregularities in the mining leases. The irregularities are because very often the extraction of ore is done beyond permissible limits,” said Parrikar replying to a starred question in the ongoing Goa Legislative Assembly session on Monday.

Parrikar informed the House that since last five years, almost four to five million metric tons of ore was illegally extracted and exported.

In order to curb the illegal activities, Parrikar assured the House that the government will constitute a committee of chartered accountants to tally the quantum of ore exported and their source of income during this 5-year period.

“From the evidences the team gathers, we will initiate criminal proceedings against the guilty,” he added. The written reply mentioned that Goa has exported a whopping 43 million metric tons in the last financial year.

Parrikar, after taking over the reigns of the State had pledged to nail illegal mining activities from the state. He first decided to sanitize the mines department and suspended then Director of Mines Arvind Lolienkar for irregularities in the department.
The government is reviewing all the files cleared during the last 10 years.

Meanwhile, Forest Minister Alina Saldanha told the House today that no illegal mines are operating in the forest areas.

The list tabled on the floor of the House mentions that all 26 mining leases presently operating within the forest areas of the state have obtained environment clearances. It has named six mines of M/s V M Salgaonkar & Bros Pvt Ltd, four mines of M/s Sociedade Timblo Irmao Ltd and other mining agencies operating in the forest areas legally.

“There is no illegal mining in the forests but in case, we find any, action is taken to stop the operations and concerned agencies or authorities are informed to take action as per law,” Saldanha said in her written reply.

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