Britain pats Shah panel for unearthing illegal Goa mining

Britain pats Shah panel for unearthing illegal Goa mining

Britain's political parties have hailed Justice M.B. Shah, whose probe has unearthed a Rs.35,000 crore worth illegal mining in Goa.

In an early day motion (EDM) tabled in the British parliament Thursday, members from the Conservative, Labour as well as Liberal Democratic parties congratulated the retired judge, who headed a judicial commission which nailed plunder of millions of tonnes of iron ore in Goa. Politicians and bureaucrats have criminally allowed mining companies to illegally excavate ore, the commission report noted.

"That this House congratulates Indian judge, Justice M.B. Shah, for his inquiry exposing the illegal mining, which he estimates has cost the Goan community 3.75 billion (pounds) over the last five years, plundering the natural resources and environment in an unregulated and often illegal trade of iron ore to China and other countries at the expense of the environment, health and livelihoods of Goan farmers," reads the EDM 522, which has been signed by eight members of the British parliament.

The motion also congratulates the state and central governments in India for closing down the mines, welcoming "the decisive action of the Indian and Goan authorities in closing the mines, allowing only those mines with proper documentation to resume operations in due course".

The motion also urges the Indian authorities to "develop a plan for the development of a long-term sustainable economy in Goa that is not dependent on mining and the destruction of the environment".

The MPs who have tabled the motion are Peter Bottomley (Conservative Party), Mark Durkan, Margaret Ritchie (Social Democratic and Labour Party), John Hemming, John Leech (Liberal Democrats), John McDonnell, Linda Riordan and Virendra Sharma (Labour Party).

This is not the first time that the British parliament has shown interest in Goa's mining scene.

In July this year the British parliament, in another EDM, urged the Indian authorities to probe illegal and indiscriminate mining in Goa which was causing serious concern to the state's environment.

The concern expressed by Britain's parliament had triggered angry reactions in Goa's state legislative assembly, whose members had claimed that a foreign nation taking up the issue of illegal mining here amounted to interference in the sovereign matters of India.