Panaji: Goa`s illegal mining scandal is worth Rs 10,000 crore (USD 2 billion), former deputy chief minister of Goa and Congress legislator Dayanand Narvekar Saturday told the Justice MB Shah commission probing the scam.
Narvekar, who was a cabinet minister in Chief Minister Digambar Kamat`s Congress-led government until a couple of years ago, also told Shah during a public hearing at the state secretariat that constant complaints in writing to the state chief secretary to probe the mining scam had fallen on deaf ears.
"Illegal mining in Goa is worth Rs.10,000 crore," Narvekar said submitting documents sourced from the state mines department and the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA).
When Shah asked Narvekar if he had documents to back his claim, Narvekar, a former finance minister, said the Rs 10,000 crore scam could be tracked by examining the paper trail and the disparity in figures relating to extraction of iron ore and its export.
"Goa is exporting more ore than it is producing. How can that happen unless the excess ore is extracted illegally? If the mining department figures and the GMOEA figures are juxtaposed, the scam is obvious," Narvekar said.
The Congress legislator also pointed to alleged illegalities committed by mining companies.
Shah and his team which includes U.V. Singh, an Indian Forest Service officer whose fieldwork and data collation led to the exposure of the multi-billion-rupee Karnataka mining scam, have been camping in Goa for the last two days.
They have been studying controversial mining leases, interviewing bureaucrats and inspecting documents related to extraction and export of iron ore from the more than 100 mines in Goa.
Leader of opposition Manohar Parrikar of the Bharatiya Janata Party has accused Kamat as well as several cabinet ministers of being part of the illegal mining scandal.
Goa exported nearly 54 million tonnes iron ore during the last financial year, out of which Parrikar claimed that nearly 20 percent was from illegal mining.
Members of the Shah Commission Wednesday began inspecting the 100-odd operative open cast mining leases in the state while also looking into complaints of wanton illegal mining.
A state mining department official liaisoning with the commission`s members said the panel had been split into various teams and each had been allotted 12 mines to inspect the mining leases.
The commission, which has been appointed by the central government to probe illegal mining across the country, has been given 18 months to submit its report.