- Since 1999, Shripad claims to have completed over 1000 projects
Since 1999, Shripad claims to have completed over 1000 projects
Seeking to be elected for the record fifth time, North Goa MP Shripad Naik offers an insight to Suraj Nandrekar on how he has worked on the demands of the public and the mining imbroglio and further talks about how he is the 11th highest in the list of funds utilised by MPs under the MPLAD scheme
Since 1999, Shripad Yesso Naik, has been the undisputed king in North Goa remaining undefeated for past four elections.
With every passing elections his margin of victory seems to have only increased, accept in 2009, when he won by a thin margin of 7,000 votes.
Naik, born on October 4, 1952 is currently, the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).
One of the tallest BJP leaders in Goa, Shripad Naik is seeking elections to the Lok Sabha for the record fifth time and if he achieves that he would one of the very few who have reached that feat.
In a tete-a-tete with Herald, Shripad ‘bhau’ as he is fondly called in North Goa and especially Ribandar, says over the last four terms he has held several positions and has done many development works.
“To start with, I must say whatever I am today is because of the love and blessings of the people of North Goa, who have shown immense trust in me for four consecutive terms,” he said.
He said that before him the winners were always by a thin margin of three to seven thousands votes.
“In my first election itself in 1999, I won with margin of over 37000 votes; in the second term in 2004 it went up to 57,000. In 2009, which was a hat-trick, though the margin reduced to 7000 as we were in opposition,” he said, adding “but in 2014 we came back with a thunderous victory margin of over 1,07,000 votes.”
Similarly, like the people in the State, Naik stated that he has been showered with love at the Centre and has held many important positions.
“Under Atal Bihari Vajpayee I handled Agriculture ministry then Port and shipping, the Civil Aviation, Road transport and National Highways and last Revenue and finance. Today I hold AYUSH with Independent charge,” he said.
On the works carried out under the MPLAD Scheme, he replied, his number is 11th in the utilisation of funds.
“I am 11th amongst 800 MPs (both LS and RS). I have crossed more than 1000 works in last four terms,” he informed, adding “in the present term itself, I have completed over 325 works.”
Naik said in his four terms he has never discriminated amongst constituencies, be it of ruling or Opposition.
When asked what his priorities are for the next term, he replied, “We need a convention centre as Goa is a tourist hub. Also, I want to make Goa number one state in the country in tourism.”
Tried hard to resolve mining
BJP’s North Goa MP and Union Ayush Minister Shripad Naik, for the first time, squarely blamed the Congress and Goa Foundation for the mining mess in the State of Goa.
In March 2018, mining came to a grinding halt after the Supreme Court quashed the renewal of 88 mining leases.
Since then, the State government minister along with all the three MPs – Shripad Naik, Narendra Sawaikar and Vinay Tendulkar have made several representations to the Centre for restarting mining in Goa but their efforts were in vain.
The mining affected people have now vowed to work against the BJP in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections due to their failure to restart mining in the state.
Reacting to this, Naik said that though the State and Central government is sympathetic towards mining dependents, the mess has been created by the Congress and Goa Foundation.
“Everybody knows who appointed Shah Commission; we also know that the Environment Clearance was withdrawn by the then Congress minister Jayanti Natrajan,” he said.
The union minister said that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar stopped mining temporarily to reign in discipline.
“Parrikar tried to bring in discipline and temporarily stopped mining to clear the mess. But if you see, Congress stopped mining, we restarted,” he said.
Further, he said, Goa Foundation’s Claude Alvares hit the last nail by challenges the renewals.
“Claude Alvares closed entire mining by saying all mining is illegal. But unfortunately, the mining dependents protest in front of our houses, and not Congress or Alvares,” he added.
When asked what could be the impact on BJP if the mining dependents worked against them, he replied, “not much.”
“Leaders may say anything but the mining workers know what the actual truth is. They know we have helped mining dependents and we have always been supporting them,” he said adding “the solution will come sooner or later, the PM is sympathetic to their issues but a law is a law it cannot be changed for just one state.”
However, he reiterated that the PM and State is still trying to find a way out.