Claiming that the states natural resources were being looted at the behest of Industries Minister Krishan Kapoor and the states mining department,pro-BJP Independent MLA Rakesh Pathania on Tuesday threatened to take up guns to fight the mining mafia operating in Himachals Nurpur belts.
The state Assembly witnessed a heated exchange on Tuesday when the beleaguered industries minister picked up cudgels with Congress MLAs including G S Bali and Mukesh Agnihotri,instead of taking on Pathania. He rejected allegations about large-scale illegal mining or extending patronage to the mining contractors. If you have evidence of any laxity on my part or the department,I will not even spare my brother, he declared in the House taking credit for getting the river beds auctioned in a transparent manner to generate a revenue of Rs 5.13 crore for the state.
Independent MLA Pathania,a political rival of the minister in Kangra,levelled serious charges against Kapoor and minced no words to accuse him of having failed to discharge his duty as the industries minister.
The MLA even moved a resolution in the state Assembly to highlight the situation prevailing in Kangra districts border belt and other parts,after the industries department had auctioned some river beds,and khuds for mining. Pathanias contentions received a strong backing from the opposition Congress MLAs.
Congress legislator Mukesh Agnihotri,however,termed Pathanias resolution as government-sponsored and suggested that either the minister should resign or the MLA should quit the House in light of the allegations he (MLA) had levelled against the cabinet minister.
Pathania alleged that the minister was protecting illegal mining under the garb of revenue generation whereas the contractors were looting the states resources by mining in areas that didnt belong to them. The unemployed youths who had bought tractors after taking loans from banks to do business of sand and stone mining have become targets of the mafia dons and goons of contractors,who have invaded the state,the MLA said.
The government is losing more than Rs 200 crore per annum because of the unchecked illegal mining. Where are you (minister) sleeping,and where is your mining staff? Have you checked whats happening in your own Khaniyara village prone to rampant mining perhaps involving your own men, Pathania said and threatened to fight the mafia by taking up arms.
Sujan Singh Pathania,a senior Congress MLA from Kangra district also spoke in a similar language asking the minister either to get the mining areas demarcated by the weekend or let the locals take law into their hands to deal with the mining mafia.
The minister,however,claimed that demarcation of the mining areas has been done and those indulging in illegal mining have been heavily fined unlike the Congress government,which,he claimed,had given a free hand to the contractors by not framing any policy for auctions.