Goa politicians in mining biz have scant regard for law:Report

Politicians from Goa who have entered the mining business often display little interest in working responsibly or even obeying the law, an international human rights watch organisation has said in its report.

New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW) report "Out of Control: Mining, Regulatory Failure and Human Rights in India," has said that the act of politicians has tarred the reputation of the entire industry.

"Politicians have entered into mining business and are spoiling the names of established mining companies. Their action tar the reputation of the whole industry," the report said quoting officials from two mining firms, who spoke to HRW on the condition of anonymity.

The officials told HRW that companies often selected contractors with political ties who often display little interest in working responsibly or even obeying the law. "Sometimes you proactively go to a politician and say, 'look, let’s do this together,’ so you get it done faster," a company official was quoted saying in the report.

The companies, the official said, disapproves the practice. Another official has been quoted as saying that the contractors (with political connections) had no competence and could not do any value addition but that worked well with politicians.

The HRW has cited a company – Rhissa Mining Services, floated by former urban development minister Joaquim Alemao and run by his son. A local farmer and anti-mining activist, Rama Velip told HRW that he was approached by a representative of Rhissa who attempted to persuade him to abandon his opposition to nearby mining developments – mines that Rhissa had little or no clear economic stake in it.

In its report, the HRW has quoted S Sridhar, executive director of Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association as saying, "I don’t know what he (Joaquim Alemao) is doing. I really don’t know," Sridhar said adding that "Naturally, if a politician is there, I will give him the contract if it is economical to me. It happens everywhere." 

Comments (+)