Panaji, April 14 (IANS) A leading green NGO in Goa has warned state Chief Secretary Parimal Rai against tapping money from two mining-releated funds for Covid-19 relief work.
In a letter to the top bureaucrat, Claude Alvares, Director of the Goa Foundation, said that any attempt by the state government to divert the collective corpus of Rs 800 crore from the two funds, namely the District Mineral Fund and the Goa Iron Ore Permanent Fund, would be challenged in the Supreme Court.
"It is truly scandalous, that while there are several proposals pending consideration by the two Goa DMFs submitted by communities in areas affected by mining, your government is proposing to run away with those resources. No moneys should be transferred out of DMF for purposes other than the needs and requirements of persons affected by mining in mining areas. That, in any case, is the law," the letter to Rai said.
"As regards the proposal for raiding the Goa Iron Ore Permanent Fund, we will be bringing this to the notice of the Supreme Court, where this matter is pending consideration. That Fund is exclusively for the benefit of future generations and cannot be touched. It is a conservation fund, not a spending fund," Alvares also said.
In the past, petitions filed by the Goa Foundation have led to a ban on the state's mining industry on two occasions and conseuently helped unearth a Rs 35,000 crore illegal mining scam.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant last week had said that he had recieved an all-clear from the Central government to tap these two funds for Covid-19 related relief works and added that Rs 170 crore from these two funds would be withdrawn.