Mining by private sector behind corruption: Prashant Bhushan
Panaji, Feb 10 : Transferring mineral resources into private hands has caused an "explosion of corruption" across the country, lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan said Sunday.
"Rampant and rapacious mining in Goa is destroying the environment, polluting waters and leading to irreversible depletion of mineral resources in the state," Bhushan said at a public interaction meeting near here.
He added the corruption and greed in the mining sector were presenting similar perils in other parts of the country too.
Bhushan cited the setting up of the Posco steel plant in Odisha and illegal mining by private sector players in Karnataka and Goa as examples of how the lure of mining was fast becoming a hub of large-scale corruption.
In Odisha, he said, the proposed steel plant was robbing the local tribal people of their agricultural land, while in Karnataka mining barons were holding the state government to ransom.
"Mining should be done by the public sector. But there are many problems with our public sector. It has become corrupt and inefficient. We need to repair it by putting a system of transparency, accountability and efficiency in place," Bhushan said.
He added that public sector undertakings should distribute resources like water and power, and operate the country's airports, as the model of privatisation with a government regulator as a watchdog was creating more avenues for corruption.
"With liberalisation, we were told, corruption would decrease, and that after the end of the licence raj people would not have to give bribes to set up businesses. But corruption has increased a thousand fold. Liberalisation has become privatisation," Bhushan said.