Committed to confronting the SAD-BJP government over the shooting earth mineral prices in the state, the Congress has decided to disrupt the winter session of the assembly from December 17.
The Congress MLAs, along with CLP leader Sunil Jakhar, have pledged not to allow the functioning of the assembly till the state government settled on a concrete earth mineral policy, which, as per them, was denting the state financial health badly.
The party, which organised a dharna here on Wednesday under the leadership of former Congress minister Raman Bhalla, in which most of the Congress sitting MLA were present, has planned similar dharnas at different places, especially where allegations of illegal mining had surfaced.
"We selected Pathankot town for starting such dharnas due to two reasons," claimed Jakhar, addressing a gathering of Congress workers. The town was witnessing a heavy mining going unabated despite the court orders and was the hometown of the state BJP president who was mum on the issue, alleged Jakhar.
"We took up the matter on August 15 before the SAD and BJP leaders, after which the CM had assured a concrete policy on mining, but months had passed but no solid step was in sight," Jakhar said, adding, "If an open auction for mining is done, it would bring a decent amount to the state exchequer. We would not settle for anything less than that."
He said constructing a house had become a nightmare for those living in Punjab as the rates of bricks had crossed the Rs. 8,000 per thousand mark, which used to be Rs. 3,600. He said as brick and kiln industry had been on the verge of closure, countless people were rendered jobless while many units were facing closure. The sand prices had also been touching the sky, he said.
Over the Ranike rip-off, Jakhar said though the chief minister and the vigilance bureau had given the clean chit to the minister, the Congress would not leave the issue and would go to the higher-ups to ensure transparency in the Border Area Development Funds scam.
He said Badal used to curse the Centre for all ills but in fact the funds sent by the Centre were never used in the right manner. He said they had drafted a list on which they would grill the SAD-BJP in the assembly session.
Attended by a large number of MLAs from different areas, including Jagmohan Singh Kang, Raman Behl, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Viney Mahajan and former Congress minister Raman Bhalla, the dharna concluded with the burning of an effigy of the state government by the Congress activists.