Justice Shah calls for public rejection of illegal mining

September 18th, 2011 - 4:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Sep 18 (IANS) Former Supreme Court judge M.B. Shah, who heads a nine-member commission probing charges of illegal mining in Goa, has said that short-staffed mining departments are mute spectators and called for a public rejection of illegalities.

Speaking to IANS Saturday, after conducting a public hearing, Justice Shah said that a groundswell like the one witnessed in the country recently, was necessary to overcome political patronage to illegal mining.

“It is difficult for us to do much about political patronage,” Shah said. “It cannot be wiped away by recommendations alone. Nowadays there is a movement in the country to do away with such patronage. There has to be a public rejection.”

Shah said it also depended on the will of the authority to implement the rule of law as far as illegal mining was concerned.

“Somehow there is always a shortage of staff. Shortage of staff causes delay. Delay creates difficulty,” said Shah, whose commission is going through the first paces of the probe.

Asked if he would summon Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, also Goa’s mines minister for the period in which illegal extraction is said to have increased, Shah said: “If we have concrete evidence, the commission will have no hesitation in summoning the minister.”

Opposition leader Manohar Parrikar has accused Kamat and several cabinet ministers of being part of the scandal.

Goa exported nearly 54 million tonnes of iron ore last financial year, of which nearly 20 per cent is from illegal mining, Parrikar has claimed.

Dayanand Narvekar, former deputy chief minister and a Congress legislator, has deposed before the commission that illegal extraction is to the order of Rs.10,000 crore.

He has said that the massive disparity in the state government figures of export and extraction of iron ore clearly exposed the scam.

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