Blames Naveen Patnaik government for illegal mining in the State

In a major poll promise, Aam Admi Party (AAP) on Thursday announced to recover Rs. 60,000 crore from mining companies involved in illegal mining and spend more than Rs. 1 crore each in every village of the State.

AAP leaders, addressing a rally here, came down heavily on the Naveen Patnaik government for ‘loot’ of minerals, which was estimated at around Rs. 60,000 crore by Justice M. B. Shah Commission that inquired into illegal mining in the State.

“In the presumably last Assembly session, we were expecting that the issue of illegal mining would be discussed. But it is unfortunate that the issue was not discussed. Although the report of Justice Shah commission was tabled in Parliament, Congress did not show interest for CBI inquiry. Every political party is silent on illegal mining,” Lingaraj, a prominent leader of AAP’s Odisha unit said.

Mr. Lingaraj said: “If AAP comes to power in the State, it would make sure that Rs. 60,000 crore-worth minerals assessed to have been looted would be returned to the State exchequer. Odisha has over 50,000 villages and each village could have Rs. 1 crore as development fund.”

Later AAP national executive member Yogendra Yadav said: “In 2G scam, the UPA government kept disputing figures. But in case of illegal mining, the Naveen Patnaik government has admitted about the value of mineral looted from the State. He should be squarely blamed for massive corruption. If anybody claims that Chief Minister does not know about illegal mining, he must be fooling everybody.”

Mr. Yadav further said that illegal mining assessed at Rs. 60,000 crore means each village in Odisha was robbed of more Rs. 1 crore which could have been spent on their development.

Launching a frontal attack on Mr. Patnaik, the senior AAP leader said: “Naveen Patnaik is like Mauni Baba (Chup Saitan), who allows corruption to flourish around him while he remains silent. It is also the model of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who always closes his eyes when corruption takes place around him.”

AAP will try to field candidates in maximum seats it could, both in Assembly and Lok Sabha segments. The party is trying to gain from joining by leaders of various people’s movements against displacement and looting of natural resources. Mr. Yadav said: “BJD has been in power for past 14 years. However, it has no opposition. There is a political vacuum in the State. We will take on BJD on the issue of corruption.”