MP: Swami Agnivesh accuses CM of wasting Rs 5,000 cr in name of Simhastha

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: May 27, 2016 21:14 IST
Swami Agnivesh addressing a consultation meet on bonded labour, in Bhopal on Friday. (Mujeeb Faruqui/ HT photo)

Social activist Swami Agnivesh on Friday took a swipe at the Madhya Pradesh chief minister accusing him of cheating people and wasting Rs 5,000 crore in the name of Simhastha Mahakumbh.

The month-long religious congregation concluded on May 22 in Ujjain and was marred with complaints of poor medical and infrastructural arrangements. While political parties accused the government of being ill-prepared to deal with disasters, seers complained of lack of basic amenities like water power supply and toilets.

At least 10 people were killed and over 100 injured after hailstorm, thunder and lightning wrecked makeshift tents and triggered a stampede, burying pilgrims under mangled tin sheds and iron poles.

“We all know how bad the arrangements were at the Mahakumbh…An inspection committee should actually be set up to investigate where (on which heads) Rs 5,000 crore were spent? It was sort of a scam,” Agnivesh said, accusing Shivraj Singh Chouhan of deception.

The national president of Bandhua Mukti Morcha also criticised the chief minister for not doing enough to end bonded labour in the state. He demanded a Special Task Force (STF) be set up to end the problem of bonded labour in Madhya Pradesh.

“The practice of bonded labour is going on under the nose of the Madhya Pradesh government even though a law to end it was framed in 1976…The chief minister isn’t helping at all even after giving several assurances,” Agnivesh said.

The activist said he has handed over a list of 450 bonded labourers belonging to MP’s Saharia tribe to the Guna district collector.

“People are forced to work as bonded labourers on their own land for generations and money lenders are recovering interests at the rate of 15-20%. The chief minister had told us in February that this social evil would be terminated in Madhya Pradesh,” he told HT.

Agnivesh said he was planning to launch a mass movement with the tribal communities soon.

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