Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Saturday rubbished opposition Congress’ allegations that he was in liaison with the mining companies and dared his critics for a debate on the issue.
“Resumption of mining within the parameters of law and in a controlled manner is very much necessary,” the Chief Minister said while addressing the 54th Goa Liberation Day function here today.
Parsekar said he is ready for a debate with all those who are “abusing and criticising” him over the issue.
He said he was unnecessarily being accused of working for the welfare of mining firms.
“I am being accused of working for the welfare of the mining companies. Why should I?” he questioned.
Iron-ore transport from mining lease of Sesa Iron Ore was stopped on December 4 after the truckers resorted to agitation over a pay hike demand. To complicate the situation further, Congress party leaders extended the support to the truckers in their demand.
State government’s intervention has failed to bring in peace between miners and truckers.
Congress spokesperson for Goa Sunil Kawthankar had earlier alleged that Parsekar was working “in favour of the mining companies”.
However, Parsekar clarified that his efforts were only to solve the bottleneck so that jobs in the mining industry are saved.
In a veiled reference to Congress leaders, the Chief Minister said there are many, who provoke the stakeholders like truckers to strike and ensure that the exports are not resumed.
“Considering the plummeting iron ore prices, some of the mining companies hesitate to continue their business in Goa,” he said.
The mining industry in the state had been put on hold for around three years by the Supreme Court owing to allegations of illegalities.
An Inquiry Commission led by Justice M B Shah had said illegal mining worth Rs 35,000 crore was reported in Goa from 2005-2012.