BJP leader CP Singh and other party members sit on a dharna near Raj Bhavan in Ranchi on Thursday to protest against the deadlock over sand mining. Prashant Mitra
Ranchi/Jamshedpur, Jan. 16: The BJP today staged balu satyagraha in eight districts of the state to protest against the government’s delay in taking a decision on sand mining, which has led to a scarcity of the important raw material required for construction.
In the state capital, the agitators, led by Ranchi MLA and former Assembly Speaker C.P. Singh, sat on a dharna in front of Raj Bhavan. They also threatened to stage Gandhian protests on balughats in the coming days if the issue was not resolved soon.
“We have called this campaign balu satyagraha on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi’s namak satyagraha. The state government has created an artificial sand crisis. All types of construction works have come to a grinding halt. Even projects under MLA welfare schemes cannot be taken up now,” Singh said.
Singh had raised the matter in the House during the winter session of the Assembly. Chief minister Hemant Soren had then assured all that the crisis would be resolved soon and that river banks would be handed over to elected panchayati raj bodies for sand mining.
However, the government, which had earlier planned to auction sand ghats to private agencies and had even carried out the exercise in several places, is yet to come up with a clear-cut policy on the same.
In East Singhbhum, district BJP leaders carried sand from river banks and demonstrated for two hours in front of district collectorate. Around 200 BJP leaders, with representatives from each of the 11 blocks of the district, took part in the demonstration.
The protesters kept three sand-filled plastic bags as a symbol of warning to the government that if a decision on sand miming was not taken immediately, they would lift sand on their own.
“There has been no sand lifting from riverbanks for past several months, thanks to dilly-dallying by the state government. This has affected infrastructure development and increased cost of civil work due to unavailability of sand. We will not tolerate this anymore,” said BJP district president Raj Kumar Srivastava.
“Sand was earlier available at the rate of Rs 1,000 per truck. Now, it is being lifted by local goons and sold at Rs 15,000 per truck. Resentment is brewing amongst local panchayat officials as their income generation is getting affected,” said BJP district spokesperson Anil Modi.
State unit BJP media in-charge Pradip Sinha said that similar demonstrations would be held in the remaining 16 districts tomorrow.