Goa unaware of quantum of illegally mined ore

Panaji, April 17 (IANS) The Goa government is unaware of the quantum of illegal ore mined from Goa in the last three years and the loss caused to the exchequer, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the Goa legislative assembly Wednesday.

Parrikar was responding to a query from Congress legislator Mauvin Godinho during the monsoon session of the Goa legislative assembly.

Parrikar gave the reply in negative, when he was asked if the government had quantified and verified the quantum of illegal mining and loss of revenue to the government treasury due to illegal mining.

The chief minister, who is also minister for mines, however said that a committee headed by a retired high court judge was appointed to probe the extent of the illegal mining scam.

“The government has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of R.M. Khandeparkar, retired judge of the High Court of Bombay to independently look, investigate into the matter apart from initiating detailed auditing of five years through a team of chartered accountants. Action will be initiated according to the law,” Parrikar said.

Mining in Goa is banned by the Supreme Court since October 2012 bringing to halt all activities, including transportation of already mined ores.

The ban was imposed by the Supreme Court after a petition filed by an NGO, the Goa Foundation represented by senior advocate in the Supreme Court, Prashant Bhushan.

Justice M.B. Shah Commission of Inquiry had blown the lid off a Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scam in 2012, blaming a mafia of politicians, bureaucrats and mining companies for the scandal.

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