NCP urges Pawar to help lift Goa mining ban
Panaji: NCP's Goa unit has asked party chief Sharad Pawar to broker a truce between the state government and the union government so that they can jointly appeal against the Supreme Court-imposed mining ban in the state.
"We have asked Mr. Pawar to help both parties arrive at a consensus. A lot of people are suffering because of the mining ban imposed by the Supreme Court. If the central and state governments are brought to one table by Mr. Pawar, a joint effort can be made to lift the ban," Surendra Sirsat, state president of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) told IANS Saturday.
Mining in Goa was banned by the court in October following a petition filed by a NGO and lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan.
The ban followed two temporary bans imposed by the state and the union government, both of whom sought time to verify the legality of the mining leases.
Sirsat said that given Pawar's stature in national politics, he would be the best person to broker an agreement between the BJP-led Goa government and the Congress-led union government, both of whom have been at loggerheads over mining in Goa.
In the March polls, NCP's tally dropped from three legislators to zero in the 40-member Goa assembly.
"We need a handle to get back into the game. Mining concerns the survival of the Goan economy. And could be a good way to re-enter the political arena," a senior NCP leader, who did not want to be named, told IANS.
Senior NCP leader Prafulla Hede, known for his proximity to Pawar, has been mentioned in the Justice M.B. Shah Commission report which has unearthed a Rs.35,000 crore mining scam in Goa.
The report said illegal mining was facilitated by a nexus of politicians, bureaucrats and mining companies.
A former NCP leader, Jitendra Deshprabhu, was arrested last year for alleged illegal bauxite mining.
Sirsat, however, said NCP was worried about the fate of "several lakh" people dependant on the mining industry, whose lives had been affected by the ban.
"Our attempt is to ensure that the mining industry in Goa is back on its feet. I am sure Pawar'ji' will help us in this endeavour," Sirsat said.