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Chouhan Takes Cue from Congress Minister to Hit Out at Kamal Nath and his Govt over Illegal Mining

On Tuesday, the minister, Govind Singh, said 90 per cent of policemen and 10 per cent of mining officials were involved in illegal sand and stone mining business and plundering natural resources.

Vivek Trivedi | News18

Updated:August 28, 2019, 5:36 PM IST
Chouhan Takes Cue from Congress Minister to Hit Out at Kamal Nath and his Govt over Illegal Mining
Madhya Pradesh minister Govind Singh said illegal mining was going on with support of police and mining officials. (Photo credit: Twitter@DrSinghGovind)

Bhopal: A day after a minister in the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh caused a flutter over illegal mining in the state, former chief minister and BJP veteran Shivraj Singh Chouhan used the former’s statement to cause further embarrassment to the current dispensation.

On Tuesday, the minister, Govind Singh, who heads Cooperatives and General Administration Department portfolios, said 90 per cent of policemen and 10 per cent of mining officials were involved in illegal sand and stone mining business and plundering natural resources. He added that this was going on with the support of police who are hand-in-glove with mining officials.

On Wednesday, Chouhan said a senior minister was raising allegations against his own government and the chief minister was maintaining silence on the issue. “What kind of a government is this where a senior minister is going public with the details of graft in illegal mining and the chief minister is keeping mum? He is claiming that a police station in-charge earns Rs 50 lakh a month from these activities,” Chouhan said. “The mining mafia has dug up rivers and made hillocks with unbridled mining and the benefits are unduly shared at every level (of the administration),” alleged Chouhan.

While responding to a query on the spread of illegal mining in the state, Singh on Tuesday had even apologised to the public for not being able to stop the menace despite being in the government. He demanded a concerted drive to uproot it on the lines of a similar campaign against adulteration of food and milk.

Even when he was in the Opposition, Singh had been quite vocal against the issue in Assembly. "Instead of checking thefts and loot, police are accepting 'cuts' (bribes) from sand dumpers transporting illegally mined sand. This business has been going on since the last 15-20 years,” the Lahar MLA said. The minister also alleged that hundreds of sand-laden trucks from MP cross the Uttar Pradesh border without any checks. "What is the administration doing"? he said.

In his recent letter to the chief minister, he is said to have accused the inspector general of Chambal Range of being hand in glove with the mining mafia. Over the last few days, check posts were seen being put up in the region.

Soon after, Congress leaders hit out at Singh for publicly criticising the government. Public Works Department Minister Sajjan Singh Verma said that instead of going public, Singh should have done something in this regard in districts like Datia, Bhind and Morena.

Other party leaders from his home turf in Bhind, including MLAs OPS Bhadauria and Ranveer Jatav, former district head Ramesh Dubey and state general secretary Ashok Chaudhary, have also expressed their disappointment with his remarks.

The leaders questioned why the minister did not keep his views in the Cabinet meeting and chose to speak publically. They were of the opinion that Singh’s home town was facing maximum illegal mining and even accused him of being involved in it.

Singh later said his political career has been unblemished and urged the chief minister to conduct a judicial probe into the charges levelled against him by party colleagues. According to sources, Singh’s remarks may be viewed in the context that he has been sulking because he was denied ‘plum’ portfolios in the government. The mining department is represented by Pradeep Jaiswal and home department by Bala Bachchan.

(With inputs from PTI)

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| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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