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'Mining activity in Goa should be five days a week'

Goa,Environment/Wildlife,Politics, Mon, 30 Apr 2012 IANS

Panaji, April 30 (IANS) All mining activity in Goa should be limited to five days a week to make it sustainable, to keep tabs on the extent of ore extraction and alleviate the human-mining conflict, the Communist Party of India-Marxist demanded here Monday.


Addressing a press conference here, state CPI-M General Secretary Christopher Fonseca said: "There was a smoke screen created about illegal mining activity," adding that the incumbent government was backed by those involved in illegal mining.


"For two days in a week mining operations should be stopped so mining that is made sustainable and intensity of mining is reduced. Today mining companies who want to run mines 24x7, all 365 days. This is condemnable," Fonseca said, even as the new Goa government has promised to act against illegal mining.


"Mining companies who are working at breakneck speed should be given respite and rest," he sarcastically said.


Fonseca also said that the Bharitya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition government's actions against illegal mining were farcical.


"The government has suspended mining director for reasons best known to them... but many culprits responsible for illegal mining are backing this government," Fonseca said.


Three newly elected BJP legislators, Nilesh Cabral from the Curcholem assembly constituency, Ganesh Gaonkar from Sanvordem and Subhash Faldesai from Sanguem are either mining extraction contractors or in the ore transportation.


Cabral has in the past even defended illegal mining at public forums.


"I don't see what the problem is moving dumps. Dumps are an eyesore. We are only moving them. It is in fact good for the environment," Cabral said, even as mining laws prohibit harvesting mining dumps.


Since he came to power in March, BJP Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has vowed to act against those involved in illegal mining. However, after nearly two months in power, action has been taken only against small fry, including a few tail end beneficiaries of illegal mining and the suspension of mines director Arvind Lolienkar.


In the run up to the polls, the BJP had claimed that several cabinet ministers as well as chief minister Digambar Kamat were involved in illegal mining and had pegged Goa's mining scam at Rs.25,000 crore.


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