Chandigarh: The Haryana Congress on Saturday alleged that a "mining scam" of Rs 5,000 crore had taken place during the previous BJP-led government in the state and demanded a probe by a sitting high court judge.
The main opposition party in the state also alleged that the illegal mining, which was the result of the "nexus" between Manohar Lal Khattar-led regime and the mining mafia, not only caused loss to the state exchequer but also damaged environment. Senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala highlighted a Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report that was tabled recently in the state assembly and claimed that this report "exposed" the Khattar government's attitude of turning a "blind eye" towards illegal mining and not recovering the dues from the mining contractors.
According to the CAG report till March 31, 2018, the Khattar government did not recover Rs 1,476.21 crore from the mining contractors, he claimed. "There was a mass bungling and loss to the state exchequer on part of collusion between politicians, bureaucrats and mining mafia," alleged Surjewala who was accompanied by Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja. "The mining scam of the Khattar-led government was more than Rs 5,000 crore," he claimed.
In the report, the government auditor had reportedly detected a loss of Rs 1,476 crore in Haryana's mines and geology department because of "irregularities" in execution of its projects. He claimed that as per an estimate, the previous BJP-led Haryana government was expected to earn a revenue of Rs 2,133 crore per year from 95 mining areas. "But the mining contractors were illegally extracting minerals from double of the allotted areas. If we assume that three-fourth mining contractors are extracting minerals in this illegal manner then it puts the state to a loss of more than Rs 5,000 crore," he alleged.
"This mining scam should be inquired into by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and its report should come within three months, so that political-administrative-mining mafia-mining contractors nexus is exposed," Surjewala said. Haryana Congress chief Kumari asked whether the Khattar government was "deliberately shying away" from the illegal mining because it was "involved" in it.
"Without information of the government or connivance, can such a thing happen," Selja asked. She said "illegal mining" caused environmental damage and changed the course of rivers. "We demand that only probe by a sitting high court judge can bring out more facts in the matter," Selja added. To a question on Bhupinder Singh Hooda speaking about 'vishal' Haryana, Surjewala said it could be his personal opinion and when it comes to the party level, it will be discussed.
Hooda recently had spoken of 'vishal' Haryana, including parts of western Uttar Pradesh, Bharatpur and Alwar districts of Rajasthan, with Delhi as its capital. Surjewala also took a dig at the BJP-JJP coalition government in Haryana and said their common minimum programme had become "common mess of parties".
"Because neither any farm debt was waived nor old age pension of Rs 5,100 was given. Yes, the JJP did get 11 departments and the BJP managed to retain power. But what 2.50 crore population of Haryana got," he asked. The BJP won 40 seats in the 90-member Vidhan Sabha and fell short of the majority. It took the support of JJP, which won 10 seats, for forming the government.