Mining scam cost Goa just ₹3,500 crore, not ₹35,000 crore: Parrikar

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Wednesday that the mining scam had cost the government just ₹3,500 crore to ₹4,000 crore and not ₹35,000 crore as estimated by the Justice M.B. Shah Commission.

Addressing a press conference on the sidelines of the monsoon session of the Assembly, Mr. Parrikar said the findings of the Shah Commission were based on a wrong survey. He was replying to a query posed by Congress legislator Luizinho Faleiro, during the Question Hour, on the total amount of loss and steps taken by the government to recover the losses.

Mr. Parrikar said the government had recovered ₹300 crore in dues from mining companies. He said, “The Shah Commission report was based on a survey carried out using hand-held gadgets. If I had said the loss is ₹100, how could I have recovered ₹300 crore? Losses are caused because of the difference between ore extracted and ore exported. The value of the ore is not a loss to the government. The loss is of the royalty on the ore extracted.”

Mr. Parrikar, who headed the Public Accounts Committee as the Leader of the Opposition in 2011, said, “The PAC report stating a loss of ₹3,500 crore to ₹4,000 crore to the government is correct.” BJP leaders had then marched to the then President Pratibha Patil’s office and claimed that Goa had suffered a loss of ₹25,000 crore owing to illegal mining.

Mr. Parrikar said, “Some losses are being tackled by the Special Investigation Team [of Goa Police]. Many people are absconding. They have just disappeared from the scene. The SIT has filed a charge sheet in eight cases. The SIT and a team of chartered accountants [deployed by State government to estimate theft of royalty] will formulate the total loss figure, which according to me is between ₹3,500 and ₹4,000 crore.”

Chief Minister, who also holds mining portfolio, said that the Shah Commission had said mining companies had shifted the lease boundaries and appropriated 580-odd hectares of land. He, however, said that a detailed survey by the State government revealed that the mining companies encroached on only 10 hectares of land.

Mr. Parrikar told the Assembly that early resumption of mining, which was banned in February, was one of the top priorities of the government. The Supreme Court had cancelled 88 mining leases and banned extraction and transportation of iron ore from March. It also directed the State to re-issue mining leases that had been renewed inappropriately.

He also said that the ban had not affected the State treasury as the contribution of the mining sector to Goa’s Gross Domestic Product was only 5% in 2018, in comparison with the 18% in 2012.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 9:52:57 PM |

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