Cong re-election faces mining test | india | Hindustan Times
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Cong re-election faces mining test

india Updated: Jan 31, 2012 01:22 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshband
Aurangzeb Naqshband
Hindustan Times
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Apart from facing strong anti-incumbency factor, the ruling Congress in Goa also has to do a lot of explaining on issues ranging from alleged multi-crore illegal mining scam to the regional plan (RP) 2021 and the medium of instruction in schools across the state.

Goa CM Digambar Kamat, who has held the mining portfolio for the past 12 years, has come under severe attack from both the BJP and his own partymen over the scandal.

While the public accounts committee (PAC), headed by BJP’s Manohar Parrikar, claimed the state suffered Rs4,000-crore loss due to illegal mining, Congress leader Dayanand Narvekar had pegged it at Rs10,000 crore.

In 2010, the central government had appointed the Justice MB Shah commission to probe illegal mining across the country, including Goa. The report is expected soon.

For the Congress, Kamat's much-touted futuristic land use policy has become another tricky election issue. The RP 2021, which was meant to deliver planning and a future to Goa, has been opposed by the BJP, his own partymen and the Church, which represents 26% of the state’s population. Kamat is even accused of selling out to the real estate lobby. It was also rejected by the civil society and several panchayats in the state.

The medium of instruction in Goa schools is the other major issue confronting the Congress. The move that English, along with regional languages such as Konkani or Marathi, should be permitted as the medium of instruction at the primary level for aided schools, had evoked sharp reactions in the state. The government, at present, offers aid and grants only to schools in which Konkani or Marathi is used as the medium of instruction.