Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has said he could not be faulted for asserting that allowing mining in the state was his "fundamental and constitutional right".
"It is me who is elected (by) people to decide on illegal mining. It is my fundamental and constitutional right to decide whether to allow mining or not. If I am wrong in what I am saying then I am ready to go to jail," Parrikar told a group of intellectuals last night.
The state's mining industry is currently in doldrums after the Supreme Court banned the extraction and transportation of ore pending final report from the Central Empowered Committee (CEC).
It is feared that the ban will dent the state's economy to a great extent.
Claiming that the SC order remained an "impediment" to re-start mining, the chief minister said, "If supreme court allows mining, then all those mines which fit into legal provisions and have complied with all environmental laws, would be allowed to operate within 90 to 120 days".
"I assure (you) to control mining in a sustainable manner", the chief minister said.
A Public Account Committee, headed by Parrikar when he was Leader of Opposition in state Assembly, put the illegal mining scam figure at Rs 4,000 crore. While Centre-appointed Justice M B Shah Commission pegged it at Rs 35,000 crore.