AAP not to take mining donations, moots 'corporation' mining

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 13 March 2014 22:48 IST

Goa unit of Aam Aadmi Party has decided not to take donations from any mining company for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The AAP has also stated that its election manifesto would demand that mining activity in Goa be carried out by the Mineral Development Corportation and not the private mine owners.

The AAP has also released a four-point strategy on the mining issue as following:

1) We will NOT take donations from mining companies.

2) Our solution to the mining issue will:

(a) respect the decision of the Supreme Court,

(b) be focused towards immediate relief to and rehabilitation of the mining-affected aam aadmi,

(c) make the prosecution of those involved in illegalities, and recovery of losses to the state a major thrust of our effort

(d) adopt an approach of "intergenerational equity" for future mining activities, to safeguard this important resource for the benefit of future generations.

The AAP press note details its stand on the issue as follows:

AAP members found that many persons who owned trucks and machinery had been literally left to fend for themselves. AAP demanded a fully transparent, efficient and prompt disbursal of relief to all truck owners registered with GEL and said this would be one of its most important demands.

AAP also said that the debt of trucks and machinery owners to banks must be purchased from the sales proceeds of the illegally extracted ore and not from the public exchequer. It said the government was not even expecting this windfall from sale of illegally extracted ore. In fact, the government had argued in the supreme court for allowing the mining companies to export the ore, a proposal which the supreme court fortunately rejected out of hand.

Finally, AAP insisted that the distress and losses suffered by truck owners and machinery owners must also be compensated from the same sales proceeds. It has recommended that no mineral ore should be allowed for transportation anywhere in the state until and unless the losses of the affected mining persons are fully compensated and these victims adequately rehabilitated.

 

The party voiced the criticism of most Goans that the BJP government had gone completely soft on the criminals who had brought the mining activity to its knees: the mining lease holders who indulged in all kinds of illegal and excess mining in collusion with politicians. Instead, the government has been blaming NGOs, Supreme Court, traders, Shah Commission and everyone else, but has refused to drag any of the directors of the companies involved in illegal and excess mining to the criminal courts.

Except for the revenues now accruing to the government from the Supreme Court’s order on e-auction of illegally extracted ore, there has been no effort to recover any of the Rs.35,000 crore illegally earned by mining companies extracting ore outside lease areas. The investigations by the Lokayukta and the SIT have been allowed to languish. No arrests of the persons responsible for this mess have been made despite the fact that it is two years since the present government took over the reins of the state.

Instead of working with the bulk of those who have suffered due to the mining ban, the govt has instead worked to protect the interests of the mining barons. Hardly any FIRs have been filed against any mining company, though Shah Commission held that all of them were involved in illegal mining.

AAP was therefore desirous of working out a solution for the mining affected keeping aloof the persons and companies involved in illegal and excess mining.

AAP reminded the government that the ore below the ground belongs to the people of the State. It said it would include cancellation of mining leases of present leases in its manifesto and the resumption of all ore deposits by the government.

Calculations are that over the 2004-05 – 2008-09 period, the amount of mineral depletion of the State is valued at Rs. 48,199 crores. Of this, the amount of royalties collected by Goa state was only Rs. 426 crores – i.e., the state managed to get less than 1% of the value of the ore! The rest went largely to the lease holders, and was partially used to get political influence and harass the aam aadmi. Around 25% of the ore which was ready for exports has no claimants! However, no move has been made to find out who extracted it and brought it to the jetties without paying royalty.

Justice for the people of Goa and for the mining-closure affected victims can only come from AAP which has no links with the mining industry. Our manifesto will demand that:

a) Mining should be done by Goa Mineral Development Corporation so that the maximum value of the ore can be captured by the Government. All money from mining to go to a special Permanent Fund.

b) Sales proceeds from the sale of illegally extracted ore e-auctions should be set aside to create a 'one-time' Rehabilitation Fund together with any penalties recovered. This must also include the recovered Rs. 35,000 crores (Shah Commission). This fund should be used to:

1.    Provide relief to mining dependent persons in the form of debt relief and compensation for losses suffered;

2.    Employ trucks, mining machinery etc towards rehabilitation of mines. Initial target should be to move at least 4 times that which is sold, i.e. (5x4) 20 million tons.

3.    Rehabilitation of the mining impacted people and areas – adequate compensation of those killed, improve the health of the people, repair potholed roads, desilt fields, nallahs, rivers, etc.

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Previous Comments

I Am With AAP Because Of Jan Lokpal Bill (Included Citizen’s Charter Act). This Act Will Make Corrupt Government Officers To Work In Honesty And Deliver Within Time Limit. Corrupt Government Officers Are Enjoying Their Life On Our Tax Money. They Have No Feelings For The Aam Aadmi. Just For One Signature, Aam Aadmi Has To Go To Their Office Again & Again. Lots Of Time And Money Is Wasted To Get Simple Work Done. Corrupt Government Officers Don’t Fear Congress & BJP. They Only Fear AAP.

- Jose Rod, Goa | 14 th March 2014 13:34

 

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