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Digvijay wants mining probe

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 25: AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh today said the party would urge the Shah Commission to enlarge its inquiry base and probe into the illegal mining activities carried out beyond the mining lease area.

“The Shah Commission should probe into the illegal mining activities,” Singh said. He was here in the city on a day’s visit to attend an event of All-India Kshatriya Federation.

He also interacted with the state Congress leaders at the Congress Bhavan. After the meeting, Singh alleged that the BJD government had ignored the agriculture sector and put all its focus on the development of mining activities.

“The mining scam that has been taking place over the years was exposed now. The Naveen Patnaik government has imposed fines to the tune of Rs 70,000 crore for excess mining. If the fine amount has touched such a staggering figure, the extent of illegal mining could be well imagined,” he said.

The government action came early this month when the Shah Commission was inquiring into the illegal mining activities. “What was the government doing over the past 12 years?” he said.

“Even Naveen had opposed the auction of coal blocks,” he added.

The Congress leader said that those state governments opposing the FDI in retail sectors should come forward to give subsidy in the oil sector.

“Though the Centre is collecting Rs 85,000 crore as tax from the oil sector, it is spending nearly Rs 1.40 lakh crore towards subsidy. Similarly, the state governments collect Rs 1.10 lakh crore as taxes, but do not give any subsidy. They should come forward and offer subsidy by giving more cylinders at subsidised rates,” said Singh, adding that Congress-ruled states are providing subsidised cylinders.

Singh also ridiculed the naming of Arvind Kejriwal’s “Aam Admi Party”.

“It reflects the intellectual bankruptcy of Kejriwal,” Singh told reporters here while replying to a question on the use of the word “Aam Admi”.

“As the Congress has not made any patent on the words, Kejriwal is trying to derive benefit out of it. Let Mr Kejriwal first get elected as an MP or MLA or even a councillor,” said Singh.

Singh also said the 2G spectrum and coal block scam were blown out of proportion. “Now, question marks have been raised over the issue. The Opposition’s stand has also been exposed,” he said, adding that BJP president Nitin Gadkari is more of businessman than a political leader.