Will the new BJP government rein in Goa's mining mafia?

Non-profits point out that BJP fielded candidates who are in the mining business

By Ashwin Aghor
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Rampant mining in complete disregard of public health seems have taken its toll on the Congress party in Goa. The rout that the Congress faced in the state elections is being attributed to large-scale corruption and illegal practices of the mining mafia in Goa.

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Manohar Parrikar who is all set assume office as chief minister of Goa, had raised the topic six months ago. Parrikar even released a report on illegal mining in the state which blew the lid off the scam running into crores of rupees.  But will that mean the BJP government will crack down on the mining mafia? Yes, says BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari. “This the biggest opportunity we have got in Goa to rid the state of illegal mining and its hazards. Our priority after forming the government would be to thoroughly investigate the entire mining operations and crack down on illegalities,” says Bhandari. Manohar Parrikar told mediapersons that the government will not tolerate even a “minor illegality” and that stern action will be taken against the offenders. 

Former chief minister Digambar Kamat said his party never expected  such results. Denying that illegal mining and the corruption pulled the party down, Kamat said one particular factor cannot be said to be responsible for the debacle. Several Congress heavyweights were defeated as Goa voted decisively against the party's promotion of family members of influential leaders; four members of the Alemao family lost in the elections. 

Sidharth Karapurkar of Preserve Goa says, “There is no doubt illegal mining claimed the Congress government. But at the same time, I am not so convinced by BJP as they had fielded candidates in mining business like Subhash Faldesai, Nilesh Kabra and two others who have won the elections.” Now it's up to the BJP leadership to take some harsh decisions.

Local non-profits like Preserve Goa, Goyencho Xetkaryancho Ekvott and Goa Foundation have been fighting illegal mining in the state for years now. Goa Foundation had even filed a public interest petition against illegal mining in Goa.


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