Panaji, Feb 7 (IANS) The “hurried renewal” of 88 mining leases in Goa by the BJP-led coalition government in 2015 is an even bigger scam than the Rs 35,000 crore illegal mining scam exposed in 2012 by a judicial commission, the AAP alleged on Wednesday, after the Supreme Court cancelled the mining leases.
“The Justice M.B. Shah Commission had exposed a Rs 35,000 crore illegal mining scam. There was no action on it by the government. The hurried renewal of 88 mining leases, before the central act which made auctioning of leases is mandatory, is an even bigger scam. It is shameful for the government. There should be a probe on how the leases were renewed. I congratulate Goa Foundation,” AAP state convenor Elvis Gomes told reporters in Panaji.
Goa was the country’s leading exporter of low-grade iron ore and exported nearly 50 million tonnes of ore, before the Shah Commission in 2012 exposed a Rs 35,000 crore scam, implicating nearly all major mining industrial houses in the scam, along with then Congress Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and key bureaucrats.
Iron ore extraction in Goa was subsequently halted by a series of bans by the state and central governments and eventually by a final ban by the Supreme Court in 2012.
However, a subsequent BJP-led coalition government in 2014-15 renewed the mining leases in favour of the same mining companies accused by the Shah Commission of illegal mining.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday cancelled all existing iron ore mining leases in Goa and ordered that the leases should be auctioned to new licencees after obtaining fresh environmental clearances.