Panaji: Former Goa minister Dayanand Narvekar has alleged that the then Congress-led government had knowledge about the illegal mining scam in the state, but preferred to keep mum on it.
Narvekar, who was then finance minister, produced findings of state Legislative Assembly`s estimates committee which met in 2010, which was wary of the state mines and geology department`s lack of knowledge about the exact quantum of iron ore produced in Goa.
"The then Congress-led government was knowing about these illegalities and the concerned minister remained silent on it," he alleged before media persons here last evening.
Narvekar, who recently left Congress to form his own political outfit, Goa Democratic Front, alleged that the recommendations of the committee were kept under wraps by the Congress-led government, which had the idea about the scam perpetrating in the state for last 17 years, during which former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat held the mines department portfolio for 10 years.
The committee had expressed "shock" over non-existence of procedure to know how much ore was extracted in the state.
The former minister said that the department was then relying only on the data furnished by the mining lease owners, sans any mechanism to cross check it.
Goa is country`s biggest iron ore exporting state and has found itself in a financial lurch after Supreme Court imposed ban on the exports.
"The committee is unable to get exact amount of minerals produced in Goa in view of government failure on procedure for accounting minerals but recommends that every ton of exported minerals there should be state permit like excise department," the minutes, which were circulated during the media briefing, read.
The committee, which was headed by Narvekar, had then BJP legislators Mahadev Naik, Rajesh Patnekar and Dayanand Sopte as its members.
The committee had recommended to employ one person per mining lease to collect actual data on the extraction on day to day basis, Narvekar said.
It had also expressed the need to have a computerised counter check on the actual amount of iron ore extracted and reported, he said.
The illegal mining scam in Goa is much more than Karnataka and the state government, including the current BJP led regime, was busy protecting the interest of the mine owners, Narvekar further alleged.