Current Affairs

Pro-Mining Lobby pressuring Congress to back-off on mining issues

The recent attack of the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) spokesperson Jitendra Deshprabhu on illegal mining and now the demand to Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to not reduce the existing 10 kms ‘buffer zone’ around forests and wildlife sanctuaries has got the pro-mining lobby including the ruling government and some leaders in the opposition in a conundrum.

Sources in the know revealed that Digambar Kamat – the former Chief Minister and the former Minister for Mines for over a decade, told the GPCC president to gag the spokesperson Deshprabhu from making any such statements to press against mining. Following which GPCC president Subash Shirodkar called Deshprabhu and asked him to refrain from making any such statements to the media on mining, especially the ‘buffer zone’ issue since the Congress leaders wanted to bring the ‘buffer zone’ to 2kms radius. Shirodkar, clamp down on Deshprabhu from conducting any further press conferences.

It is not surprising to note the stance taken by Kamat and Shirodkar, who have been key catalyst to illegal mining in the state. But it is surprising to note the stance taken by the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who has still not clamped down of Congress politicians allegedly involved in illegal mining such as Kamat, Shirodkar, Joaquim Alemao and Filipe Neri Rodrigues. It appears that the government is left with no choice but to go soft on the mining lobby. In fact, the government plans to reduce the ‘buffer-zone’ to less than 2kms.

Deshprabhu has raised the issue with the Congress High command is to take stock on the issue; has found out that the Congress president is not pleased with the diatribe of the GPCC president, who is expected to be changed after the second-week of August.

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