Congress kicks up ruckus in Punjab House over mining deals

 The Congress forced an adjournment of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Wednesday alleging that a handful of ruling party members were illegally controlling sand mining that had astronomically raised the prices of sand and bajri (gravel).

Naming the Badal family directly, a former Congress minister said that Punjab’s natural resources were being monopolised in the same manner as the cable television and transport business.

The trouble started duringthe call attention motion by Jagmohan Singh Kang, who pointed at the rising prices of sand and Bajri over the past few months.

Alleging the members of the Badal family were responsible for illegally capturing the quarrying of sand mines, Kang demanded that industries minister Anil Joshi make a statement in the House about what the government had done to intervene in the matter.

Taking  objection, Kang said people who had been given mining contract had been wrongly booked and people close to the Badals had been asked to mine the areas without any legal sanctity.

He demanded a probe by a House Committee into the matter. Joshi said the Punjab and Haryana High Court had put a stay prohibiting the auctioning of mines over 5 acres.

He also said that 181 FIRs had been registered against people indulging in mining and 74 of the FIRs were registered in Ropar district against illegal encroachment of government land.
Efforts were on to get these mines vacated, he added.

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