In Goa polls, BJP wants to encash on mining issue

Panaji: After exposing the Digambar Kamat led government on illegal mining front, Goa BJP has now woven its election campaign around the raging issue, promising people to save legal mines and providing them amenities through revenue earned from iron ore exports.

Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar told PTI that the amount of revenue which should have been directed to the mining affected areas is not coming through. "If BJP comes to power, we have assured that all the money collected in the form of mining revenue would be used here," he said.

Parrikar, who headed controversial public accounts committee (PAC) report, which brought to light the illegal mining, said the party has been facing various questions from the people dependent on mining during election campaigning.

"Our stand has been clear. We are in favour of legal mining and we are in the know of the problems faced by the people who are dependent on illegal mining. Once we are in power, we will find out solution for those people who have invested in the mining sector and fear to lose their livelihood due to closure of illegal mining," he added.

Parrikar said the Congress led government has failed to come to the rescue of people living in mining belt. "BJP has aimed to spend at least half of the amount earned from here in infrastructure creation of the mining belt," he said.

Goa has been reeling under a controversy of illegal mining in which ore worth several crores was sent across the border without paying royalty or tapped by violating environmental norms. The Union government appointed Shah Commission is probing into the illegalities.

Parrikar, who toured the mining belt as a part of his Jana Sampark Abhiyaan, said that the main issue faced by people in this belt is about the clogging of roads due to mining trucks. "The government just made promises about mining corridors to by pass the truck traffic from the city. Nothing has happened on the ground. BJP will prioritise these roads so that the common people are not facing the trouble," he said.

The Leader of Opposition said the party is well aware about the issues faced by people dependent on mining. "We are not anti mining. Instead we want that there should be balance between environment and mining," Parrikar said pointing out that illegal mining bloated state?s export from 30-odd million tonnes to 54 million tonnes within last financial year.

He said the legal mining to the tune of 30 MT is enough to suffice for the requirement of the industry. Even the royalty collected on 30 MT is enough for the welfare of the mining belt.