THREAT: Linking the BJP’s Rajasthan debacle to the non-action on Padmaavat, Karni Sena Chief Lokendra Singh Kalvi said the only ‘solution’ would be for Prime Minister Modi to ban the movie
HOLDING as hasty and illegal the 2014 second renewal of 88 mining leases granted by then Manohar Parrikar government, the Supreme Court of India has effectively banned iron ore mining in Goa for a second time in six years.
Earlier this week, a bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Lokur however allowed about a month’s time for the mining companies operating some of these leases to “manage their affairs” and halt all operations by March 16, 2018. The order also effectively cancels all mining leases in Goa and directs the government to formulate a process to grant leases afresh under the new Central law.
The order has served as a double whammy for the controversy embroiled iron ore mining industry of Goa which in 2011-12 was stung by the M B Shah Commission’s finding that illegal mining had sucked the country’s natural resources (iron ore) to the tune of a colossal Rs 35,000 crore.
Known as the mining scam, its quantification by the Shah Commission in 2011-12, made it among the nation’s biggest scams — even bigger than the 2G spectrum scam that rocked the country.
The latest Supreme Court judgement sent the mining industry in a tizzy and left the government speechless. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, otherwise known to be verbose, has declined to make any substantive statement and is said to be against the idea of the State approaching the Apex Court for a review.
Mining in Goa, it may be recalled, had come to a grinding halt in 2012, when the Supreme Court banned the activity after the Shah Commission’s report exposed the scam. The only activity that the Supreme Court allowed was sale of the already mined illegal ore after its confiscation by the State and through e-auctions.
Mining in Goa resumed in 2016-17 on the basis of the second renewals of 88 leases granted hastily in 2014. The second renewal process was hurried and executed on the crutches of a contentious Bombay High Court ruling which the Supreme Court has now struck down. The Apex Court held that the move to grant second renewal was guided solely by the need for revenue generation for the State and profits for the mining industry disregarding the environment laws and interest of the State.
SANTA CRUZ UP IN ARMS AGAINST GOVT PDA MOVE
FOR some time now, the residents of Santa Cruz has been restive on the issue of their village being proposed to be included in Greater Panaji Planning and Development Authority.
The move of the government, seen by many in political circles as a ploy to ‘accommodate’ ex-MLA Atanasio Monserrate, is being vehemently opposed by a significantly large section of the village’s population guided by the local panchayat’s Village Development Committee. The VDC has already succeeded in forcing the arm of the panchayat which has unanimously passed a resolution opposing the inclusion of the village in the PDA.
Earlier this week, the villagers held a public meeting where several speakers expressed fear that the move will open the floodgates for indiscriminate real estate development, especially in the low-lying fields and on the higher reaches of the hilly terrain lining the village on its Southern side.
With no plans for a centralized sewerage system, the residents fear that it will ruin the ecology of the village.
At the public meeting, also attended by Sarpanch Mariano Araujo and some other panchas, the nearly 500 people in attendance took a pledge to oppose the PDA. Monserrate, Town and Country Planning Minister Vijay Sardesai and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, bore the brunt of the acerbic criticism of a number of speakers at the meeting.
POLITICS OVER STATUES OF ICONS HOTS UP
THE demand for putting up the statue of Dr Jack de Sequeira at the Goa Legislative Complex has triggered an ideological war of sorts in the Goan polity. The Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party has now raised a demand for statues of TB Cunha and Ram Manohar Lohia to be installed at the Legislature Complex while a third demand for a statue of Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji has emerged from the BJP legislator Rajesh Patnaik.
Speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly Pramod Sawant has received notices of five private member resolutions related to the demand for statues at the legislative complex and the imbroglio has fomented cross-party political alignments putting almost every political party having representation in the House into some ideological bother.