`Truth will prevail`: Goa CM on mining controversy
Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who is facing heat over the illegal mining issue, on Wednesday, told the state Legislative Assembly that `truth will prevail`.
"We have not exceeded the Environment Clearance (EC) limits," Kamat told the house during the discussion on the appropriation bill.
He said the government had taken all the precautions to prevent illegal mining. "Ultimately, truth will prevail because there are records to support it." He assured that not a single paisa in royalty would be allowed to be evaded.
"We have taken the precautions... directions are issued to all the mining companies not to handle the dumps till state government comes out with a proper policy," said the Chief Minister, who also holds mines portfolio.
Kamat is under fire for maintaining silence on the illegal mining in the state during his tenure of almost 12 years as mines minister.
The Chief Minister said the state cabinet, at a recent meeting, had announced that stamp duty of Rs 1 lakh per hectare would be imposed on the mines for renewal.
Kamat also said it was port authorities` duty to ascertain that the ore shipped out was not illegally mined.
"Director of Mines and Geology does not sit in the Mormugao Port Trust and check the illegality."
Defending himself, Kamat said that he became minister in 2000, when Manohar Parrikar (now Leader of Opposition) was then Chief Minister. "During the entire 10-year period, we have not issued a single mining lease, or a prospecting licence... 700 prospecting licence applications are pending."
He said it was not fair to blame the state mines and geology department for the illegal mining, as there were five agencies which regulated the sector, namely, Directorate of Mines, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, Indian Bureau of Mines, Director General of Mines Safety and Pollution Control Board.
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