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Goa chief minister, aide shielding illegal mining: BJP

Panaji, Feb 25 (Calcutta Tube) The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Goa unit Thursday accused Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and his secretary Rajiv Yaduvanshi of shielding illegal mining operations in the state and said it would raise the issue in the coming assembly session.

Addressing a press conference here, Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Manohar Parrikar claimed that illegal mining in Goa comprised an unparalleled 22 percent of the total nearly 33 million tonnes of iron and manganese ore exported from the state annually over the last decade.

‘Digambar Kamat has been the mining minister for 10 years now. He is directly responsible for the rampant illegal mining in Goa,’ he said, terming Kamat’s government ‘impotent’ to quell the large-scale illegal mining.

Parrikar also accused Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Yaduvanshi, who besides being Kamat’s secretary heads several crucial departments including mining, forests, of being part of the conspiracy to shield the illegal mining lobby.

‘Normally an IAS officer remains in a state up to three to four years. He (Yaduvanshi) seems to be his (Kamat’s) favourite officer, who is in the corruption zone,’ Parrikar said, referring to Yaduvanshi, who is an IAS officer of the Arunachal Pradesh Goa, Mizoram and other Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre.

‘Yaduvanshi was transferred three times. But every time the chief minister has intervened and stopped his transfer,’ he added.

Parrikar also said that the opposition would raise the issue of illegal mining in Goa during every day of the five-day assembly session scheduled next month.

‘There is complete chaos in the mining sector. Most ministers are involved in illegal mining,’ he said, adding that the mining policy being devised by the state government was ‘an eye wash’.

Noting that mining for minerals was a central government subject under Schedule I of the constitution and the state government does not have much of a say in it, Parrikar said the state government can effectively deter illegal mining and mining-related excesses by enforcing laws on transportation and implementing other existing laws.

Open cast mining, a Rs.6,000 crore industry in Goa, is seeing increasing popular resistance due to uncontrolled illegal mining and rampant destruction of the state’s forests.

The opposition has repeatedly alleged on the floor of the house that the chief minister and several cabinet ministers were sheltering the mining mafia in collusion with the bureaucracy.

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