The Haryana Congress Saturday accused the previous BJP government in state of turning a blind eye to illegal mining, leading to a “scam” of Rs 5,000 crore, and demanded a probe by a sitting Punjab and Haryana High Court judge. The BJP said these were “politically motivated allegations”.
Citing a Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report, which reportedly detected a loss of Rs 1,476 crore in Haryana’s mines and geology department because of “irregularities” in execution of its projects, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surejewala alleged that illegal mining not only caused loss to the state exchequer, but also damaged the environment.
“The CAG report has exposed how the Manohar Lal Khattar government turned a blind eye towards illegal mining and over-exploitation of valuable minerals. The report states how the course of the rivers were changed for illegal mining and open loot of minerals,” Surjewala said.
Till March 31, 2018, the Khattar government did not recover Rs 1,476.21 crore from mining contractors, he claimed citing the CAG report, and alleged that “the mass bungling was due to collusion between politicians, bureaucrats and mining mafia”.
He said that the previous 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 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.
State Congress chief Kumari Selja and Surjewala said the Congress doesn’t want a probe by the CBI, which was “completely patronised by the central government”.
The BJP denied the allegations.
Senior party leader Rajeev Jain said, “These are politically motivated allegations. The Congress remained in power for 10 years (2004 to 2014) in Haryana and earned a revenue of Rs 1,400 crore (for the exchequer). In contrast, the BJP government in the last five years earned a revenue of Rs 2,400 crore. During the 10-year Congress regime, only 800 FIRs related to illegal mining were registered. But our government registered 1,300 such FIRs in five years.”