Panaji, March 23 (Coal Geology) The opposition Tuesday put Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat on the mat over illegal mining in the state.
Opposition leader Manohar Parrikar criticised Kamat for not taking action against mining at Ambeli in south Goa, 60 km from here, in the guise of digging a water pond. Kamat is also the minister for mining.
‘Can you imagine iron ore is being extracted from a pit which is supposed to be a water pond? Iron ore worth Rs.30 crore has been extracted,’ Parrikar said, speaking in the state assembly.
He said the pit had become 200 metres wide before the government decided to act. ‘It was as big as two football grounds,’ Parrikar said.
The former chief minister also accused Kamat of not taking enough action against those responsible for illegal mining.
Kamat admitted to the illegality and said the equipment used for extracting the ore illegally had been confiscated.
‘We have suspended the range forest officer who was responsible for allowing the mining to happen,’ Kamat said. ‘We have asked the deputy inspector general of police to personally investigate the case.’
The opposition has alleged that nearly 18 percent of the 33 million tonnes ore exported from Goa is illegal.