PANAJI: Alleging that four new faces in the list of candidates of the Bharatiya Janata Party are involved in illegal mining, and that the BJP is uncertain about its stand on the mining issue, the senior Congress leader, Mr Shantaram Naik, on Thursday,
said that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance has already introduced the Mines and Mineral Regulation Development Bill 2011 in the Lok Sabha, and the proposed legislation set to replace the 1957 law, will take care of all the issues related to mining activities in the country.
“It now remains to be seen if the BJP will co-operate with the central government to pass the Bill,” he added.
Addressing a press conference, at the Congress House, Mr Naik said that the Congress government in the state was very clear about its stand on mining activities in Goa, and had announced its desire to take action against those, who would be found guilty by the Shah Commission probing illegal mining activities in the country.
“The Shah Commission has an 18 month deadline to release its report on illegal mining in Goa, and it will do so at the right time,” he added, pointing out that the state Congress government had also come out with the decision of not issuing fresh licences for mining activities, unless the State Mining Policy is declared.
Speaking further, the senior Congress leader said that the BJP is a coward party, which attacks the Congress by hiding behind surrogate advertisements published in the newspapers by a pro-BJP NGO.
“If the BJP had any courage, it would have countered the Congress face-to-face by coming out in the open,” he added, retorting, “If the BJP wants to play hide and seek then it should go to Children’s Park, and if the opposition party desires to attack politically by hiding in the bushes, then it must join the Naxalite movement.”
Mr Naik also criticised the vice president of the state BJP unit, Dr Wilfred Mesquita by mentioning that he was a defector, who after defection continued with his dishonest approach.
Mr Naik also questioned the rationale behind the alliance between the BJP and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party.
“The BJP during the entire tenure of the state government criticised the Transport Minister, who represents the MGP, of being involved in corruption as related to the High Security Registration Plates, and is now joining hands with the same person,” the senior Congress leader maintained, further flaying the leaders of the MGP for pointing fingers at the state Congress government.
“If the MGP leaders want to charge the Congress government of corruption, then before doing so, they should remember the principal of joint responsibility, and understand that in such a case, they were also a part of corruption,” he added.
The senior Congress leader further said that the Congress party, which is all set to come back to power will open the Goa unit of the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation.
“The Congress will pay special attention to the minority communities and improve their living condition in Goa,” he informed, noting that the 40 per cent lending which is reserved for priority sectors like agricultural loans, small scale industrial loans, small business loans, loans for retail trade, education loans, housing loans, etc, would have its ‘appropriate percentage’ diverted to the minorities.