‘Illegal mining’ allegations sparks outrage in Jharkhand assembly
The BJP MLAs alleged that illegal explosives were being used for mining and hills were disappearing from the state’s Santhal Pargana and Palamu divisions, causing huge losses to the state exchequer and environment.
The Jharkhand Assembly on Saturday witnessed noisy scenes over alleged illegal mining in the mineral-rich state with opposition BJP MLAs demanding a probe by a House panel.
The BJP MLAs said illegal explosives were being used for mining and hills were disappearing from the state’s Santhal Pargana and Palamu divisions, causing huge losses to the state exchequer and environment.
Also Read | Jharkhand cabinet nods for 1 lakh wells, EWS quota in jobs
Demanding a probe into the issue by an Assembly committee, legislators of the saffron party trooped into the Well.
Speaker Rabindranath Mahto urged the members to return to their seats, saying a committee will be set up if required.
Amid vociferous protests by the BJP MLAs who continued to raise their voices for a House panel, the Speaker adjourned the House from 11.50 am to 12.30 pm.
Also Read | HC rejects Meghalaya’s plan on illegal mining, says deploy 10 CISF companies
Responding to the allegations, the state government claimed that the number of raids against illegal mining has increased three times now as compared to the previous BJP rule and revenue collection from mining has also doubled during the three years of the Hemant Soren government.
During Question Hour, BJP chief whip Biranchi Narayan alleged, “A stone mining scam worth ₹20,000 crore, including ₹1,000 crore in Sahebganj district alone, took place under the present government. Illegal mining is rampant. The number of FIRs related to stone mining has increased from 274 in 2020-21 to 565 in 2022-23”.
He also said illegal explosives, which may be linked to Maoists, are being used in huge quantities for illegal mining.
“The National Investigation Agency (NIA) should probe from where the explosives are coming,” he said.
Replying to Narayan, state Agriculture Minister Badal Patralekh said that the Hemant Soren government is strict against illegal mining.
“In 2019, 1,110 raids against illegal mining took place, which increased to 3,692 in 2022-23. Similarly, revenue collection from mining has also increased manifold. Total revenue collection between 2016-17 and 2018-19 when the BJP was in power in the state was ₹15,784 crore. Revenue collection has reached ₹30,949 in three years of the Hemant Soren government,” he replied.
Badal said that license for explosives is provided by the Centre and the state government has no role in it.
On the state government’s reply, Narayan said that the figure provided by the government pertains to legal mining, while the issue raised by him is related to illegal mining.
BJP MLA Bhanu Pratap Shahi demanded a probe into the issue by an Assembly committee which was echoed by Narayan and other BJP MLAs.