Probe fresh mining clearances in Goa: BJP


Panaji: The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Goa Saturday demanded a probe into the environment clearance issued by the central government for 100 more mining leases in the state.

Support TwoCircles

Speaking in the assembly, Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar said in addition to the 110 present iron and manganese ore mines in Goa, nearly 100 fresh mining leases had been granted clearance by the union environment and forests ministry.

“All the 100 mining leases which have been given clearances by (Environment and Forests Minister Jairam) Ramesh before ordering the moratorium, should be probed,” he said, alleging that all the fresh deals were ridden with corruption.

Parrikar also said that a senior Congress leader, Dinar Tarcar was operating six of the 100 new mining leases.

He said that if the 100 additional mining leases were made operational, it would wreak environmental havoc in the state.

“The present 110 leases export 35 million tones of ore. If 100 more mining leases are made operational, then everything will crumble. We do not have the infrastructure to support this kind of mining,” Parrikar said.

Noting the “overwhelming influence” of mining firms on the state, the former chief minister further said that the net profits of the state’s leading mining firm Sesa Goa was Rs.2,798 crore, while the net revenue of the state was only Rs.2,700 crore.

“The total profit of top five mining companies crosses Rs.8,000 crore. You can imagine their clout,” Parrikar said.

In February this year, the central environment ministry imposed a moratorium on environment clearance of mining proposals from Goa, and has also ordered an environment impact assessment on all mining activities carried out in the state.

Ramesh had also told Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who also holds the mining portfolio, that the moratorium would continue until Goa came out with its mineral policy.

Goa’s mining industry exports nearly 33 million tones of manganese and iron ore out of Goa to countries like China and Japan.