Arvind Kejriwal, AAP conveynor, recently mentioned in Goa that AAP will initiate action against those implicated by the Shah Commission in the mining scam. This is welcome. While many investigations have commenced, not one person has been convicted so far. We hope that Arvind Kejriwal will also raise the issue of the much larger Goa’s mining lease renewal scam, which AAP Goa has flagged in the past.
Following the release of the Shah Commission report, Goa Foundation filed a PIL (public interest litigation) at the Supreme Court in October 2012. In April 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that all mining after 22-Nov-2007 was illegal, and that the Goa government needs to grant fresh leases. Soon after, Goa Foundation estimated that at least Rs. 65,028 crores was recoverable from miners on account of illegal mining, Rs. 4.5 lakhs a man, woman and child in Goa. With such an unambiguous order and the large sums at stake, a responsible government would make all efforts to recover these amounts, and future mining could be under a new regime.
Instead, the BJP government has renewed the mining leases backdated from 22-Nov-2007. The result is that the estimated loss for the remaining 12 years of the renewed leases is Rs. 79,836 crores. Since the renewals are backdated, the amount recoverable from illegal mining is also lost. The total loss is conservatively Rs. 144,864 crores. Each of us lost Rs. 10 lakhs. Inherited wealth belonging to our children. A few benefited. Is this acceptable?
AAP, will you take up the cause for the aam bachhe of Goa? Their future is at stake.