Mining has to be nationalised, said leader of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan here on Sunday. Mr. Bhushan was addressing a public meeting organised by the AAP here on Sunday in connection with controversial amendments to Goa Lokayukta Act.

Mr. Bhushan said that externalities of rampant and rapacious mining activity such as devastation of environment, forests, and water resources were manifold and the private sector could not be bothered about these. He gave the example of Goa wherein the Justice M.B. Shah Commission had brought out all these aspects and revealed how supervision and action from the regulators was absent.

He said that although it was true that the country’s public sector was corrupt and inefficient, it was democratically accountable to various institutions. He admitted that there was a need to repair the systems to ensure that the public sector works with more efficiency.

Articulating his party’s stand, he said that by and large natural resources, national monopolies like water and electricity and airports normally be with public sector as the models of privatisation with regulator in place had not worked.

The party felt that reformed public sector was the solution to this problem.

“To stop rampant and rapacious mining, first set up systems and regulatory mechanism,” he said in reply to a question about whether his party would support the ongoing agitation from mining dependent people’s front demanding that mining should be allowed to start in Goa.

He suggested that the solution to the people affected by mining was to explore alternative avenues of livelihood as externalities of mining faced by people were manifold than the benefits some would get.

When asked to clarify his party’s stand on a new greenfield Mopa airport being proposed to be set up in Goa on a public-private-partnership (PPP) model, Mr. Bhushan said that the party was opposed to PPP model as though the name was very nice suggesting public private partnership, in reality such projects have resulted in plundering of public resources by private interests.

“Therefore, normally we would oppose it,” he said and added that they would study the same.

Earlier, addressing the people on Lokpal and AAP’s future course of action, Mr. Bhushan said that contrary to the belief that liberalisation would end corruption, corruption had increased thousandfold post-liberalisation as liberalisation essentially became privatisation and privatisation was nothing but privatising national resources, essential monopolies and airports.

“These policies have huge scope for corruption and scope for bribes to pass the polices,” he said.A farce

He criticised the Central government’s Lokpal bill as a “farce” as it did not have powers of investigation through independent investigating and prosecuting mechanism.

Courtesy: The Hindu

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