Panaji: A day after officials of Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) began inspecting iron ore mines in the state, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said the exercise was aimed at "making money".
"If they are inspecting the mines, then they should also take action. Only inspecting and keeping quiet (thereafter) means asking for kickbacks," Parrikar said, talking to reporters here.
"MoEF is a corrupt ministry. They have given environmental clearances (to mines) by accepting bribes. Why were they quiet all these years?" he said, alleging that the ministry turned a blind eye to rampant illegal mining during the tenure of Digambar Kamat-led government in Goa.
MoEF should disclose full findings of the inspection on its website, Parrikar said, and blamed the Union ministry for the current mess in the Goa mining sector.
The MoEF inspection, which started yesterday, reportedly seeks to ascertain whether the rejected low-quality ore lying at mines is being exported in spite of a ban.
MoEF and central agencies such as Indian Bureau of Mines should regulate the mining in Goa more stringently, the Chief Minister said, adding that the state regulated only the storage and transportation.
Reiterating allegation of bribe-taking for giving clearances at MoEF level, Parrikar said in the places like Sanguem, where 80 per cent population was tribal, the Environment Impact Assessment by the central agencies declared that there were no tribals.
Parrikar also said that his government was very strict about ore dumps. Of the total 720 million metric tons of iron ore (mostly low-quality, export reject) in the dumps, only 150 MMT can be exported without damaging the environment, he said.