Panaji, June 22
The Congress on Wednesday slammed Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s recent criticism of a section of NGOs and green activists, and accused the former Goa chief minister of interfering in the state administration and matters of policy.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Panaji, Congress spokesperson Trajano D’Mello said that as Leader of Opposition in the Goa legislative assembly, Parrikar in the past used to encourage NGOs to agitate, which in turn had brought development in the state to a “grinding halt” back then.
“The defence minister’s attack on NGOs, that they are objecting every development, is an absolute lie. He should remember that as Leader of Opposition he was encouraging them to agitate, was participating in agitations and brought development to a grinding halt,” D’Mello said.
Addressing a government function in Panaji on Monday, Parrikar said that NGOs backed by vested interests were filing cases in court against government projects and were delaying creation of infrastructure.
“There are some professionals, who regularly file cases against government projects. That is why I urge state officials to take all the necessary environmental and other required clearances before starting work on a project, so that these so-called NGOs do not find the courage to file cases against us,” Parrikar said.
“This constant filing of cases against government projects has become a business. If we are wrong, punish us, but do not stop developmental projects unnecessarily,” he said, adding that such habitual litigants should be “exposed”.
D’Mello claimed that Parrikar was now crying foul because his party is in power.
“When he was doing it, it was to save Goa’s destruction. But now when rampant destruction has started and has been objected to legally, he terms it as obstructing development,” the Congress spokesperson said.
Reacting to another comment by Parrikar about his non-interference in key state issues, like the contentious medium of instruction policy for state’s schools, D’Mello said: “No one believes in Parrikar any more. He is and will continue to interfere in state government affairs.”