Sharad Pawar to meet PM over Goa mining ban

Panaji, Feb 14 (IANS) Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar will discuss "ways and means" to "resolve" the issue of Goa mining ban with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Feb 18, a party official said here Thursday.

Speaking to IANS, NCP's newly appointed state president Nilkanth Halarnkar said that Pawar, who was in Goa earlier this week, had sought opinions from people affected by the Supreme Court-imposed mining ban.

"He will be meeting the prime minister (Feb 18) and other concerned central ministers to discuss ways and means to resolve the crisis," Halarnkar said.

The state NCP chief said the party was of the opinion that illegal mining in Goa should be immediately halted, but legal mining should be allowed as soon as possible.

"As a party, we want the woes of the people dependent on mining for their livelihood to be redressed as soon as possible. That is what we had requested Pawar-ji," Halarnkar said.

Mining has been banned in Goa for over four months now, after the Supreme Court, hearing a petition filed by activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan, announced a probe into Goa's Karnataka-like illegal mining scandal.

The petition follows the revelation of a Rs.35,000 crore scam exposed by a judicial commission headed by Justice M.B. Shah, who has said that top mining companies, politicians as well as bureaucrats were beneficiaries of the illegal mining.

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