The opposition Congress party has criticised the government for renewing the lease of a private mining company in Sattari taluka without following the Supreme Court order to auction all the natural resources and has questioned the wisdom of the government to collect just the stamp duty, when auction could have given more returns.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday afternoon the Congress spokesman, Mr Sudip Tamankar, told reporters that had the government followed the Supreme Court order it could have been able to generate substantial income which could have been used for helping the people affected by closure of mines.
Accusing the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar, of adopting double standards on the issue of mines and trying to misguide the people of the state by renewing the lease of Cosme Costa mines at Pissurlem without following the due process, the Congress spokesman said that the action of the government indicated its malafide intentions and the process smacked of corruption.
He further stated that if the government followed the process of auctioning all the mines then it would be able to generate income to the tune of Rs 3 lakh crore, which could be used help the mining affected people.
He said that the government has renewed the licence of the firm that was being operated by a major mining company using the same process that was being followed during the Congress rule.
“The auctioning of the mines and generating income in the process could have helped the government in easing the pressure on common man who was already reeling under the burden of increased tax structure,” he said adding that an average person has to pay much higher taxes than before on food, power and water.
He said that the backdoor attempts to renew the licences of the mining leases had already begun and renewal of Cosme Costa firm was an indication of the same.
He also said that the government was in league with the mine owners and that it was protecting their interests more than that of the affected people even as he said that no notice had been sent to the mine owners for recovery of the dues to the state.
Calling upon people, especially those affected, he said that they should bring this to the notice of the Supreme Court, which was already seized of the matter and fight for their rights rather than begging for the package that was announced but not given yet. He said that the Congress party would bring the happenings to the notice of the Centre.
Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party of double standards on the issue of corruption, he said that the party supported moves by social activist, Anna Hazare, for a strong Lok Pal bill before the last assembly election but has made the Goa Lokayukta Act a toothless tiger by bringing in amendments to it.
He went on to state that the Chief Minister threatened Mr Subhash Shiordkar, who was the president of the Goa Olympic Association, of not releasing a pie for holding the Lusofonia games in case he continued in the position and got him replaced by his own party man and Member of Parliament, Mr Shripad Naik, whom he “belittled” by appointing two tainted officials connected with Commonwealth Games.
Mr Tamankar further said that Mr Naik, who holds a much better reputation and was a face of the Bahujan Samaj in the BJP, has been sacrificed by the Chief Minister and that great injustice has been done to the North Goa MP.
He said that a probe should be held in the appointment of the two tainted officials.
The Congress spokesman further said that two other senior officials of the state administration, former director of sports, Dr Suzan D’Souza, and Mr Roque Dias, another senior official, who could have been of help as they know Portuguese, have been sidelined from the games.
He said that Congress party wanted the games to be held successfully and that the funds allocated to it should be judiciously used. [NT]