The Communist Party of India-Marxist secretary for Goa, Thalmann Pereira, also said that mining leases given to handpicked, crony Goan families by the “hated” colonial regime headed by Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar decades ago should be wrested back, and a government corporation should be formed to run the mining on these leases.
After a meeting of the state organising committee of the party, Pereira said that the state government was insistent on pursuing its “anti-national” agenda of exporting iron ore to China and Pakistan.
“The so-called ‘dumps’ are firstly necessary for back-filling of the huge mining pits created in various places in Goa, as per the progressive mine-closure plans already submitted by the mining companies to the Indian Bureau of Mines,” he said, adding that low-grade ore also contained “rejects” of various trace elements, including gold, whose export is banned.
“It is ironic that the ‘nationalist’ Goa government leaders seem to be more concerned about China and Pakistan,” Pereira said.
Mining in Goa has been banned by the Supreme Court since October last year, bringing all activity including transportation of already mined ore to a halt.
The ban was imposed by the Supreme Court on the basis of a petition filed by environmental NGO, The Goa Foundation, represented by senior advocate in the Supreme Court Prashant Bhushan.
A judicial commission has already unearthed a Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scam in which politicians, bureaucrats and privately-held mining companies and traders have been indicted.
The CPI (M) now wants all mining activity to be wrested from the private players and handed over to a government corporation.
“The mining issue’s solution requires an approach of fostering scientific and sustainable mining, which under present-day realities is possible only by first taking over all the mines in Goa under the state government’s direct control through a ‘Goa Mineral Development Corporation’,” he said.