Panaji - The Goa government's setting up of a panel headed by a retired judge to verify findings of another judicial commission on illegal mining is confusing and impractical, the Congress said Thursday.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, Congress spokesman Sudip Tamhankar said the BJP-led government in Goa was cosying up to the mining lobby and dithering when it came to acting against the industry.
"The committee appointed by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will only create more confusion. The move is extremely impractical," Tamhankar said.
The Goa cabinet Wednesday set up a high-power committee headed by retired high court judge Justice R.M.S. Khandeparkar to probe and verify findings of the Justice Shah Commission which a few weeks ago had unearthed a Rs.35,000 crore mining scam in Goa.
Shah has virtually indicted all mining companies on more than one count of illegal mining and said that a nexus involving mine owners, bureaucrats and politicians was responsible for the loot.
The Khandeparkar Committee, according to Parrikar, has now been given powers to utilise the services of Goa Police's crime branch to verify Justice Shah's findings.
The committee has been given 60 days to come up with its findings.
The Congress claims that the setting up of the committee would delay the opening of legal mines, which had been closed for several months due to the monsoon.
"When are legal mines going to start now? Will their resumption be delayed by 60 days, when the new committee submits its report?" Tamhankar said.
Incidentally, the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA), a collective of ore exporters, has expressed shock at Parrikar's decision to set up the probe committee.
"Goa's mining industry is surprised and shocked at the state government's sudden decision to appoint a committee under Justice Khandeparkar to verify alleged illegalities in the Shah Commission report within 60 days, when the process of verification of stocks and permissions are in progress for exactly the same purpose," GMOEA said in a statement.