Take action against illegal miners: Industry to Goa government

Panaji, June 17 (IANS) The Goa government has to act against those responsible for illegal mining, and it does not, at present, appear to be taking any action, a top industry official said Monday.

Speaking to reporters in Panaji, outgoing president of the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Manguirish Pai Raikar said the trade body would sack any of its members if they were hauled up for illegal mining.

“The government should come down heavily on anyone doing illegal mining. If they are doing it internally, maybe, but externally we cannot see anything,” Raikar said.

The trade official’s comments come at a time when the opposition, as well civil society groups, have been accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition government in the state of going slack against those involved in illegal mining.

Raikar said those involved in illegal mining in the state should be punished.

“We are very open about it. If we find that any of our members are committing an illegality, they will not be our members anymore,” Raikar 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 an environmental NGO, The Goa Foundation, represented by senior advocate in the Supreme Court Prashant Bhushan.

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

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