Panaji: Justice MB Shah, who is probing instances of illegal mining in Goa, on Saturday outrightly rejected the demand that illegal mining be legalised.
"We cannot accept the suggestion that illegal mining should continue. We have no jurisdiction over it," Shah told a gathering at the end of two-hour public hearing which was marred by heated arguments between pro and anti-mining representatives.
Several representatives from local panchayats, association of truck owners and people residing in mining areas lobbied for "legalising illegal mining" saying "the locals have no problem with illegal mining, so also Shah Commission should not have".
The hearing, held at the Secretariat near here, had to be stopped once after the two groups engaged in a verbal clash. The hearing could be resumed only after police arrived at the scene.
Asserting that irrespective of the demand in favour of illegal mining, Shah said there cannot be justification for the same as it is causing environmental problems.
"Today, we are here to discuss whether there is illegal mining and what could be done to stop it," he said. More than 200 representatives from mining belt of the state participated in the public hearing.
Expressing apprehensions that they could face the wrath of pro-mining activists for opposing them, Ramesh Gawas, a prominent environmentalist said, "We were afraid that if we speak, people would attack us like what they have done in the past".