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Illegal mining ban in Goa only a whitewash: Cong

September 12, 2012 19:42 IST

Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jayanti Natarajan on Wednesday termed the Goa government's action against all 93 mining leases in the state, in response to the Justice M B Shah Commission report, a "whitewash".

"The Shah Commission tabled its report on September 7. Within two days, the Goa chief minister issued an order suspending licences of mines, which is a complete whitewash," she told reporters.

"He is trying to fool everyone by pretending that he is taking action. Under which act has he suspended the permissions for all the 93 mining leases," she asked.

She said that the action by Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is a "fraud" on the people of the country.

A day after the Shah Commission report on Goa's illegal mining was tabled in Parliament, the Goa government suspended all mining leases, asking mine owners to approach the Directorate of Mines and Geology with proper documents.

She alleged that the state government was trying to usurp the rights of the union government.

"We want to know whether he wants to take the power of the central government under the environment act, forest act and other central acts," she said.

Responding to a question, she said that the MoEF had written to the state government several times about the illegal mining in Goa.

"On several occasions, I have raised with the chief minister the very same issues of illegal mining and not received any reply," the minister claimed.

Taking a dig at the Goa government's order, which has allowed the export of ore that has been already extracted, she said that if the ore was extracted through illegal mining, than it should be confiscated and not allowed to be exported.

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