BJP alleges corruption in state’s mining affairs


Panaji : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has alleged large scale corruption in Goa’s mining department, especially for its inability to impose the much-touted ‘green cess’ on mining ore rejects.

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“The government is supposed to impose the green cess on mining rejects. But the department has not even defined what are mining rejects in the first place. This smacks of corruption and inefficiency,” leader of opposition Manohar Parrikar told reporters at the BJP’s state headquarters.

The ‘green cess’, a trumped up revenue-boosting tool that was aimed at netting Rs.375 crore from the state’s powerful multi-million dollar mining industry, was announced by Chief Minister Digambar Kamat during the budget session in August.

The announcement came at a time when the opposition had the state government on the mat over gross violations in the mining industry and citing numerous instances of illegal mining in the state, which according to the BJP were run by several cabinet ministers.

Parrikar said that as far as most mining related discrepancies were concerned, the buck finally stopped with the chief minister, who is also the state mining minister.

“Yes the buck stops with the chief minister. I have given him until December to clear up the mess in the mining department, failing which we will hold him personally responsible for the failure and the corruption in the mining department,” Parrikar said.

Mining department officials also acknowledged their inability to impose ‘green cess’, which they say needS more vetting.

“We have sent the green cess proposal to the law department for scrutiny. We do not want any loopholes there for the mining industry to exploit,” a senior mining department functionary told IANS.

Goa’s 100-odd open cast mines extract and export nearly 33 million tonnes of ore each year and are in the news often for environmental infringements.