M A I N   N E W S

Politicians come together for ‘juicy’ mining business
Yoginder Gupta/TNS

Chandigarh, June 25
The recent auction of mining rights in Haryana witnessed a unique phenomenon. According to sources in the trade, politicians, cutting across party lines and individual differences, joined hands to successfully bid for the mining rights.

The auctions, from which the the government earned more than Rs 250 crore, were held in Panchkula, Ambala, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Faridabad, Bhiwani and Mahendragarh districts a few days ago.

Proving that when it comes to their commercial interests, they are more than happy to bury their differences and unite, the politicians belonging to different parties pooled their resources to get the mining rights of sand and stone.

As sand and stone mining has been banned in Haryana under a court order, over the past one year, the prices of these materials have sky-rocketed in the state because these have to be brought from neighbouring states like Uttar Pradesh, Himachal and Punjab, where the mining is going on.

For obvious reasons, the politicians did not participate in the auction directly. They put up their front men to participate in it. It was the presence of these front men, which revealed politicians’ preference for particular sites. Since mining sites of less than five hectares do not need prior environment clearance, the department concerned had put up all sites measuring less than five hectares for auction.

In Panchkula district, sources say, two sitting MLAs of the Congress and the INLD, along with a person closely related to a Punjab leader, were among those who successfully bidded for the mining rights.

In Yamunanagar, again two sitting MLAs of the INLD and the Congress along with a former Congress MLA emerged as the key players.

In Faridabad and Palwal districts, persons supported by a former Congress MLA emerged as successful bidders. In Mahendragarh district, a former INLD minister, who had later joined the Congress, was successful in outbidding other participants in the auction.

The auctions are yet to be confirmed by the department because of a case pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The court had allowed the government to hold the auctions with the condition that the auctions would be confirmed only after the court clearance. The case is fixed for further hearing in the first week of July. 





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