Panaji, Oct 13: In the backdrop of allegations pertaining to illegal mining, Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the national capital, sources said today.
Though Kamat government has been facing heat over alleged instances of illegal mining in the coastal state, the change of leadership is not on the cards at least till Justice M B Shah Commission, probing illegal mining, submits its report and indicts the state leadership if the case be, they said.
However, talking to PTI from Delhi, Kamat said his meeting with Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday was a courtesy call. “I had not met her after she came back from the treatment. It was just a courtesy call to convey good wishes of people from Goa,” Kamat said, adding he was returning today.
Kamat's Delhi visit assumed significance as the Congress-led government is pushed to the corner over allegations of illegal mining.
A report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), led by Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar, tabled in the House estimated the mining scam to the tune of Rs 4,000 Crore.
The Union Ministry of Mines has asked the Goa Government to submit details by October 18 regarding the low-grade ore lying in the form of mining rejects along side the extraction sites in the coastal state, sources said today.
The Union ministry in a recent meeting held in Delhi asked the Goa Mines and Geology Department to submit details of the dumped ore, while directing the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) to oversee detailing of these dumps, they said.
The mines and geology department in its submission to the Ministry of Mines said 750 million tons of ore has piled up in the form of dumps.
Meanwhile, the state government has ordered the mines “not to handle the dumps till further orders”. Mining industry in Goa has drawn criticism over allegations of extraction of ore “exceeding the permissible limit”.
Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA) had stated that the threshold value of the ore had fallen since 2009 thus raising demand for the dumps which were kept aside as rejects for several years.
State Mines director Arvind Lolienkar too confirmed that “these dumps have accumulated over last 30 to 40 years”. PTI