Other States

BJP MLA raises illegal sand mining issue, Cong backs him

Bharatiya Janata Party MLA R.D. Prajapati on Tuesday took his own government to task in the Assembly, alleging that illegal sand mining activity was going on unabated on the banks of the Ken river in Chhattarpur district.

The Opposition Congress backed the BJP legislator and amid the uproar, the Chair adjourned the House for 30 minutes.

However, the government denied the charge.

Mr. Prajapati, who represents the Chandla constituency, said during the question hour that 800-1,000 trucks ferry illegally-mined sand from the Ken daily at Chandla in Chhattarpur district, close to Uttar Pradesh.

He claimed that the people engaged in illegal mining, mainly come from Uttar Pradesh and they fire randomly which has created a reign of terror in the area.

Farmers in the area were living in fear due to the terror of the people engaged in mining and migrating, he claimed.

The MLA also claimed that two persons were killed and several others injured in firing in the Fattepur and Mawaighat areas on March 10 this year.

Mr. Prajapati demanded action against illegal mining and sought to know from the government the revenue loss due to such unlawful business (mining).

Congress members Ramniwas Rawat, Jitu Patwari, Tarun Bhanot and others joined the BJP member and took pot shots at the government, saying the situation has now come to such a pass that its own members were exposing the wrongdoing.

Taking a jibe at the Opposition, in his reply, Mineral Resources Minister Rajendra Shukla said 13 years ago, the State earned a revenue of just Rs.600 crore (royalty).

“Now it has climbed to Rs.3,500 (royalty) crore which itself speaks that illegal mining is checked,” he said.

The Minister denied the charge of illegal mining and also the alleged firing incident.

Mr. Prajapati said he was telling the truth and demanded an FIR be registered against the officer concerned.

“Or, an FIR should be registered against me, if I was levelling (a) false charge,” said the MLA.

Acting Leader of the Opposition Bala Bachchan, former Leader of the Opposition Ajay Singh and senior Congress member Ramniwas Rawat said Mr. Prajapati’s statement carries weight as he is ready to be booked if his accusations were false.

“Free to go to court”

Asserting that the government was clean, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narottam Mishra stood up and pointed at the Opposition while saying they were free to go to the court or other agencies like Lokayukta over the issue.

Intervening in the matter, Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Gopal Bhargava said for the past 10 days the Opposition was raking up the corruption issue just to stall the proceedings of the House.

This angered the Congress members, who trooped into the Well shouting, “shame, shame” and demanded stern action against illegal mining.

Meanwhile, Mr. Prajapati did not budge and kept demanding action against the officer concerned for allegedly failing to check illegal mining. He said he was even ready to resign from the House if he was wrong.

Amid the bedlam, Mr. Shukla asked Mr. Prajapati to come to him with his grievances and assured him of an inquiry to address his concerns.

However, the Minister’s assurance pacified neither Mr. Prajapati nor the Opposition, following which the Speaker Sitasharan Sharma adjourned the House for 30 minutes.

Earlier, another BJP MLA Bhadur Singh Chauhan raised the issue of illegal sand mining in Ujjain, alleging that the district mining officer was soft on checking the unauthorised activity.

Mr. Chauhan said after he raised the issue earlier in the House, a case was registered in this regard but the government officials were not pursuing it with the competent court to punish the guilty as required. Mr. Shukla assured him of needful action in the case. -- PTI

“Farmers in the area were living in fear due to terror of the people engaged in mining”

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 10:36:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/BJP-MLA-raises-illegal-sand-mining-issue-Cong-backs-him/article14510440.ece

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