Jagmohan on the mat

NEW DELHI, NOV. 27. The Union Urban Development Minister, Mr. Jagmohan's run-ins with politicians, both within his party and outside, continues unabated. In the eye of the storm over the Delhi masterplan, he found himself pilloried once again in both Houses of Parliament.

To make matters worse, in the Lok Sabha it was members of his party, the BJP, who took the lead in expressing dissatisfaction. During zero hour, BJP MPs from Delhi led, by Mr. Madan Lal Khurana, were on their feet protesting the Minister's failure to put an end to moves to seal industrial units in the city. Urging the Prime Minister, Mr. A.B. Vajpayee, to convene a meeting instead of one by the Urban Development Minister, Mr. Khurana said three days had passed since the Minister's statement in the House, but the situation continued to escalate.

Even after the House was adjourned, Mr. Khurana persisted with the issue. He told journalists that he and his colleagues felt that since the operation to seal the polluting industrial units was under way, despite Mr. Jagmohan's assurance to summon a meeting, ``the Prime Minister alone can find a solution by calling a meeting''.

Mr. Khurana also appeared agitated over the fact that the Delhi Chief Minister, Ms. Sheila Dixit, was leading a march to Parliament, when it was her Government which was sealing the units. ``How can she speak on behalf of the people when officials of her Government are responsible for closing down the industrial units?''

However, Mr. Jagmohan showed no signs of relenting. In the Rajya Sabha, he defended the decision to relocate polluting units. ``This is a Supreme Court decision and we are bound to follow it.'' At the same time, he expressed willingness to meet the Delhi Chief Minister and the MPs to find a solution.

The issue was raised in the Raja Sabha by Ms. Ambika Soni (Congress), who demanded that the Minister come out with a ``mixed land use'' policy. He was also attacked by Ms. Jayanthi Natarajan (TMC) for not having a rehabilitation policy for Delhi.