Cong ‘sold’ Himachal,says Dhumal as he defends Bindal

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Thursday slammed the Congress for “selling” the state’s interests to outsiders by permitting largescale land transfers and in the process,making several BPL families landless.

Written by Express News Service | Shimla | Published:March 16, 2012 3:49 am

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Thursday slammed the Congress for “selling” the state’s interests to outsiders by permitting largescale land transfers and in the process,making several BPL families landless.

Defending Health Minister Rajeev Bindal,whose whose resignation he had rejected two days ago,Dhumal reminded the Congress that an inquiry in October 2007 had exonerated the minister from charges of land violations,including Section 118 of the HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act-1972,much before the BJP returned to power.

Replying to the debate on Governor’s address in the state assembly,Dhumal reiterated the government’s resolve of zero tolerance against corruption and announced that the new Lokayukta Bill — which gives more power to the institution — will be introduced in the current session. “We have initiated the process to strengthen the Lokayukta. A Bill in this regard will be introduced within this session after consultations with the new Lokayukta. The chief minister,ministers,MLAs,PRI representatives and bureaucrats will come under its purview,” he added.

While tabling officials records in the House,Dhumal said: “Congress was the biggest culprit in granting permissions to outsiders. But now,the party has chosen to blame the BJP government ahead of the elections. The HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act was amended during the Congress regime and not by the BJP.”

He went on to read out details from government records to elaborate on 97 cases where the earlier Congress government had “illegally” allowed land purchases to several industrialists and individuals.

Dhumal also presented to the Assembly documents relating to an inquiry,which the earlier Congress government had ordered on a complaint of land violations against Bindal. The inquiry,he quoted,concluded that “land purchases are legal and non-violative of the Section 118 as Bindal is an agriculturist since 1964”.

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