Auction illegal mines: Goa Congress

September 18th, 2012 - 4:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Sep 18 (IANS) All illegal mining sites in Goa should be divided into blocks and auctioned to the highest bidder, Congress leader and former union minister of state for law Ramakant Khalap said Tuesday.

The Congress leader’s demand came in the backdrop of Justice M.B. Shah Commission report which has identified a mafia-like nexus between officials, politicians and the mining companies, responsible for an estimated Rs.35,000 crore illegal iron-ore mining scam in the state.

Khalap, a former chairperson of the Goa Law Commission also requested Goa Governor B.V. Wanchoo Tuesday to work out a mechanism for “cessation of hostilities” between the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government and the Congress-led central government over the issue of illegal mining.

“In my opinion all mines not covered by valid leases, must be taken over by the government and sub-divided into blocks of suitable sizes and auctioned to the highest bidder,” said Khalap, addressing the media after sending his letter to Wanchoo.

The mining tracts whose leases had expired should not be renewed in light of public protest against the rapacious mining industry, he said.

Khalap has also called for a quick end to the hostile posturing by the central and state governments, which have engaged in a running feud over the issue of posting of officials, LPG quota and most recently over illegal mining.

“There has to be a cessation of hostilities between the state and the central government. It is not healthy. The situation has worsened due to allegations and counter allegations between the two,” said Khalap, addressing the media after sending his letter to Wanchoo.

“I have written a letter to the governor to intervene and put an end to the hostilities,” Khalap said.

Khalap was referring to a public spat between union Minister for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar over the issue of illegal mining in Goa.

While Parrikar claimed that the MoEF was corrupt and was largely responsible for the Rs.35,000 scam in Goa, Natarajan had responded by alleging that Parrikar was venturing into the domain of central government agencies.

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