Handique mixes up queries in House

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Union Minister for Mines B.K. Handique on Tuesday found himself groping for answers in the Lok Sabha during the question hour.Unable to reply on a question on the availability of bauxite in the country, Mr. Handique appeared even more confused when he mixed up queries while answering supplementaries.

Opposition members laughed at his reply and stood up in protest when the Minister remarked that there was no violation of any law, when asked what steps the government was taking to check illegal mining.

The former Finance Minister, Yashwant Sinha, expressed his dissatisfaction over the Minister’s reply. When Mr. Sinha wanted to know which companies were engaged in mining of non-atomic and non-fuel minerals — in which the government allowed 100 per cent FDI — Mr. Handique said such queries should be raised through written questions.

At one point, the Minister was even heard saying, “I am trying to answer the question,” only to digress to another issue. Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram told Mr. Handique to answer the questions put to him.

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