SC judge, court committee took away jobs: Congress MP

Panaji/New Delhi, April 25 (IANS) A Congress MP Thursday trained his guns on a Supreme Court-appointed committee and a retired apex court judge for the “fate” of workers rendered unemployed by the mining ban in Goa.

Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik was speaking at a dharna organised Thursday at Jantar Mantar, in New Delhi, by a section of mining company workers from Goa, who claim to be affected by the Supreme Court-enforced ban.

In a statement issued in Panaji, Naik, who is also chairman of the Standing Committee of Department of Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, said the SC-empowered committee “has to face the music and they cannot shirk from their responsibilities as they have taken the role of the central government as also state government, upon itself”.

The committee had recently been to Goa to probe allegations of illegal mining on the directions of the apex court, and in its report, had alleged large scale illegalities.

Both the BJP and the Congress have repeatedly attacked the Supreme Court committee, which was in Goa to probe allegations of illegal mining and the environmental destruction caused by mining activity.

Naik also accused Justice M.B. Shah, a former Supreme Court judge, who exposed a Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scam in the state, of ignoring the opinion and comments of the mining lobby in his probe.

“The Shah Commission defied the basic principle of natural justice, since they did not call lease holders or deemed lease holders nor did they interact with workers, transporters, traders or shopkeepers,” Naik said, asking the Supreme Court to have a “human(e) approach while dealing with environment issues”.

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 the environmental NGO, The Goa Foundation, represented by senior advocate in the Supreme Court, Prashant Bhushan.

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