BHUBANESWAR: The Opposition Congress and BJP on Friday staged a walkout in the Assembly alleging that Steel and Mines Minister Raghunath Mohanty avoided several questions raised by them on the multi-crore mining scam.
Participating in the discussion on the demands for grants of the Steel and Mines, the Industries and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises departments, leader of the BJP Legislature Party (BJPLP) KV Singhdeo alleged that Vigilance probe is an eyewash as it has failed to bring the culprits to book.
Alleging that the State Government is losing cases in courts on the mining scam because of weak investigation by Vigilance, Singhdeo said it has also recommended rehabilitation of chargesheeted officials.
Stating that no action has so far been initiated against RBT, Arjun Ladha and BC Deb companies, who committed irregularities by flouting mining and other laws, the BJP leader asked why has the Government not initiated action against Essel Mining and Jindal. He also criticised the Government for trying to shirk responsibility by putting the blame on the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM).
Singhdeo also wanted to know how does a person Shakti Ranjan Dash hold the power of attorney of three companies __ RBT, BC Deb and Arjun Ladha. He wanted to know what action has the State Government taken against the company which has exported ` 20,000-crore worth coal.
Initiating the debate, Naba Kishore Dash (Cong) alleged that despite the claim of the Government that illegal mining has gone down, it has increased. Criticising the Government for not agreeing to a CBI probe, Das alleged that the Vigilance probe is meant to cover up the irregularities. Das also charged that the industrialisation spree, started by the State Government, is flawed as companies are only getting attracted by land and mines in Odisha.
Congress Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan wanted to know what action has the Government taken against the companies who have produced more than what is permitted under the Mining Plan. He said mining in excess of the approved plan has been done in 104 leased out mines. Harichandan also criticised the Government for delay in taking decision on mining lease applications one of which is pending for the last 33 years.