Congress corners govt on illegal bajri mining
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Congress corners govt on illegal bajri mining

The speaker did not allow a listed question to be taken up in the house.

jaipur Updated: Feb 15, 2018 22:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan news,Congress,Prahlad Gunjal
Rajasthan Congress President Sachin Pilot speaks during a protest against the illegal gravel mining, near state Assembly in Jaipur on Thursday. (PTI)

The opposition Congress staged a walkout from the assembly on Thursday over the issue of bajri mining in the state after the assembly speaker did not allow a listed question to be taken up in the house.

A question on bajri mining by BJP MLA Prahlad Gunjal was listed at number three in the day’s business during the question hour. Gunjal wanted to know how many projects of the state government were pending due to the ban on bajri mining, how much additional cost the government had to bear on its projects that had got stuck due to the ban on mining.

He also wanted to know if bajri mining was still taking place illegally under protection of government employees, police and bajri mafia even after the ban and bajri was being sold at high prices and if the government was considering any action against those involved in illegal bajri mining.

However, after the first two questions, speaker Kailash Meghwal stood up and said that taking the reasons given by the state government on the issue as appropriate, the question should be taken as postponed.

On this, the opposition MLAs created a ruckus and asked why the government is shying away from giving a reply on the issue of bajri mining.

Chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who was present in the house, walked out as soon as the opposition MLAs created an uproar. The opposition led by Congress MLA Govind Singh Dotasara also staged a walkout.

Parliamentary affairs minister Rajendra Rathore stood up and tried to defend the government. He said that the government is willing to reply on the issue. “As and when the honourable speaker thinks fit, he should fix the date and time and the government is willing to give a reply on the issue.

Talking to reporters, Dotasara asked why the government was unwilling to reply on an issue related to the public and said the government was shielding the bajri mafia.

Outside the assembly too, the Congress tried to corner the government on the issue of bajri mining. The opposition led a rally of hundreds of labourers affected by the ban on bajri mining outside the assembly. The labourers were demanding stopping of illegal bajri mining and blackmarketing of bajri.

Congress vice president Archana Sharma said the labourers have been hard hit by the ban on bajri mining as construction projects have stalled and they are not able to earn daily wages.

Sharma has been leading a campaign on the issue since the last two weeks and has organized meetings with labourers throughout Jaipur city to apprise them of the government giving protection to illegal mining and bajri mafia.

Criticising the government, state Congress president Sachin Pilot said, “The BJP government is giving protection to illegal bajri mining which has escalated the cost of construction. The government is also protecting the mining mafia which has led to blackmarketing of bajri.”

He said the government did not want to listen to the opposition in the assembly and a question raised by a BJP MLA on bajri mining was also disregarded in the house.

He said the BJP government had insulted the people’s mandate and as a result it had lost all the three bypolls. He added that in the coming assembly elections the people would give a stinging defeat to the BJP.

First Published: Feb 15, 2018 22:40 IST