Goa speaker wants crack-down on illegal mining


Panaji : Goa Speaker Pratapsingh Rane, who has sought “time” to read an explosive Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report of the assembly, which has pegged Goa’s mining scam at Rs.3,500 crore, Friday pulled up the government and asked it to take action against the menace.

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Rane was speaking during zero hour, when the opposition claimed that iron ore dumps were being illegally excavated and transported in his (speaker’s) assembly constituency of Poriem.

“It is happening in my constituency. I am not the owner of the dump. I have nothing to do with the dump. The concerned company is Damodar Mangalji,” Rane said.

“The government should come down heavily against people who are doing this (illegal mining),” he added.

Claiming that the scourge of illegal mining was brining Goa a bad name, like in the case of Karnataka, Rane told Chief Minister Digambar Kamat: “Goa’s name is becoming spoiled. I think we should crack down on illegal mining in the state.”

Rane’s office had received the report, submitted by PAC chairman Manohar Parrikar, nearly 48 hours ago. The report exposed a politician-bureaucrat-mining lobby nexus.

While Parrikar had expressed hope that the report would be tabled Friday, the speaker Wednesday told reporters that he needs time to read it as he was busy on account of Dussehra celebrations.

Rane has also raised questions about the authenticity of the report, because four ruling coalition legislators, out of the seven members on the committee, have refused to sign the report.

“I have just received it. I will go through the report. We are in a democracy, so the majority view should be taken into consideration,” Rane said.