Chief Minister Oommen Chandy indicated here on Wednesday that mining of mineral sand by the private sector would be considered if there were projects with value addition.

Replying to questions from presspersons at his weekly Cabinet briefing, the Chief Minister said there were differences of opinion on granting mining rights to the private sector. The general approach of the government was to strengthen the public sector and give priority to it. However, only a fraction of the sand was now being mined by the public sector, whereas the State needed to use the mineral resources effectively. Considering this, a decision beneficial to the State would be taken.

On allegations about Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash and his family holding nearly 25 acres of land, the Chief Minister said Mr. Prakash had done nothing against the law (Land Reforms Act). The Minister had been doing good work such as implementation of the Zero Landless (Citizens) Programme, and some quarters were trying to defame him.

BJP-CPI (M) ties

Mr. Chandy said the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) were working with the common objective of defeating the Congress in the 2014 general election. They were not reluctant to join hands for this. They had done so in 1977 in the name of Emergency, and in 1989 in the name of corruption. Now, only a theme needed to be decided.

Replying to a question, Mr. Chandy said the courts would deal with the issue of a magistrate not recording the statement of Saritha Nair, accused in the solar scam. An independent judiciary was the strength of a democracy, and the High Court would take appropriate decisions in the matter.

He said that differently abled persons who had filed their petitions in advance were not required to attend his mass contact programmes as their applications would be decided before the programmes. Those coming to meet him were people who had not filed their petitions in time.

He said the Budget session of the Assembly was likely to be convened early in January.