Welcome Jayanthi-Parrikar feud

By Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)
13 September 2012 23:30 IST

People of Goa should wholeheartedly support the competitive game played by Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar and union minister for forest and environment Jayanthi Natarajan. They should simply laugh out the accusations made by both against each other and see through the actions they are taking to prove who is more competent among both – the Centre or the State.

After Justice Shah Commission report is out, it began with Goa government putting on hold operations of ALL the mines, irrespective of which is illegal and which is not. Without citing any reason, the mines department also suspended quite a few officers. Now, CM Parrikar is also saying his government would send notices to all the mine owners regarding recovery of the money they made by selling the iron ore illegally.

In order to prove that it is the Centre and not the State that has major hold over the mines, MoEF minister Natarajan announced at a press conference cancellation of environment clearances of ALL the mines, without even bothering to find out whether any mine actually deserves environment clearance. In addition, she has also dumped the action of Goa government as a ‘white wash’.

Interestingly, both – the centre and the state – would ‘now’ scrutinize all the documents before allowing any mining firm to dig.

The reasons could be many to overscore each other. It could be a feud between the Congress and the BJP, ruled at the center and Goa consecutively. It could be simply to show who is more powerful – the central government or the state government. Or it could be simply an ego clash between an individual called Manohar Parrikar and an individual called Jayanthi Natarajan. Or even it could be a demonstration before the whole country to prove who is more prompt in taking action.

For us, it simply does not matter. What matters is that finally they have started acting against the illegal mining. Don’t ask why they didn’t take these actions even before the Shah Commission report is out. Because the interim report was submitted six months ago. Parrikar, in his Public Accounts Committee report, had come out with similar observations. They were enough to take similar action soon after coming to power. But, please, don’t ask why it was not done then and why it is being done now. Because, we need action and that is coming.

In fact we need more action, as Justice Shah Commission report has suggested, just not suspension of work ‘temporarily’. It ultimately should not result into the mine owners rushing to both the authorities and ‘satisfying’ them with documents to start the illegal extraction once again. Because, as per the Commission report, almost 100 lease holders have encroached upon 2800 hectares of land, but have extracted the ore illegally only in the encroached area of 578 hectares.

It means 80 per cent of the encroached area still remains to be extracted; illegally of course. 10 big mining houses among these 100 have encroached upon 80 per cent of this area. Imagine if all these 10 houses manage to ‘satisfy’ both the centre and the state to get clearances. The illegal ore extracted till date is around 13 lakh metric tonnes, costing around Rs 35,000 crore. Even if these 10 houses are allowed, they could extract remaining 41.6 lakh MT of iron ore illegally, costing around not less than Rs 1.40 lakh crore more. It should not be possible, but the history says it is not impossible.

It is possible to restrict illegal mining in future only if the feud between the centre and the state continues in the same fashion, where each one tries to show how competent their government is, in following the law. So, Mr Parrikar and Ms Natarajan, please show us who is more competent to stop the illegal mining. Let us see who can save Goa better…

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Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)

Sandesh Prabhudesai is the Editor of goanews.com. He has been earlier the Editor of Sunaparant (Konkani daily) and Editor-in-Chief of Pruden (TV channel). His collection of selective editorials of Sunaparant has been published as 'Goff'. He writes brief thoughts as EdiThought for goanews.com, but not on regular basis.

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Previous Comments

Lapses on behalf of Govt in granting approvals widely pointed out by Shah Commission cannot be a base for saying that the miners are illegally operating as they have followed due process. It is another matter that there are so many laws, rules, regulations, changes in the same, and approvals applicable that operate in a maze of interactions that the system is too complicated for any single department to be fully aware of and to keep track and ensure compliance in the proper order. No doubt there has also been laxity in monitoring. Despite this, majority of mining in Goa is legal. Shah Commission has however not identified most of the parties involved in true illegalities like production of ore from old dumps not belonging to a party, mining in areas without a lease. They have also selectively identified some areas of storage of ore or minerals and left our many others.

- Deepak, Goa | 27 th September 2012 17:36

 

Misconception of Shah Commission cannot be the base to say that miners have encroached. Shah Commission has shown ore storage area at jetties far away from mining leases as part of mining leases and termed it encroachment as also included areas used for storing mining dumps. This cannot be taken as fact. In fact for a body appointed to make an inquiry to make such blunders in interpretation in unpardonable. A statement such as "100 lease holders have encroached upon 2800 hectares of land, but have extracted the ore illegally only in the encroached area of 578 hectares" would have been laughable if it were not a serious allegation as when the area has not even been mined how can it be called as encroachment of mining area?

- Deepak, Goa | 27 th September 2012 17:26

 

In the interest of Goa, I only hope the “Hu..Tu..Tu…” game between State and Center i.e. between present CM of Goa and that of Jayanthi Natrajan prevails endlessly.

Let both exercise their own rights as is defined by law. This will put a stop to illegal mining in Goa or else it will continue as was happening during Digu’s time!

- Uday, Margao | 25 th September 2012 20:42

 

Wonder who wrtes such collumns.. Any one please

- RALPH, VASCO | 17 th September 2012 15:15

 

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