Himachal CM condemns frequent walkouts by Congress, justifies JP hydel projects

JP Hydro Karcham WangtooSHIMLA: Himachal CM Prem Kumar Dhumal today strongly condemned the frequent walkouts by opposition Congress from the State assembly. Perturbed by the non participatory behaviour of Congress in the House on one or the other pretext the Chief Minister called them “a divided group of directionless and issue less opponents trying to seek the media attention”.

The entire Congress party again staged a walkout today immediately after the question hour while demanding the registration of an FIR against the corporate house Jaypee Associates. The company that has constructed the 1000 MW Karcham Wangtoo hydel project in the hill State has recently been fined by the High Court for flouting environmental norms.

Chief Minister Dhumal said that the same Congress party which has granted permissions for various hydel and cement projects of this company it now staging walkouts when in opposition against the same company. The leader of opposition Vidya Stokes had herself given a permission to the Jaypee Company to go ahead with its Rs 400 crore cement project by under assessing the value (Rs 90crore) so that no environment clearance was to be taken from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

He also said that out of way permissions were given by the Congress for power utilisation and using the common grassland of villagers. He claimed that it was the BJP that charged Rs 26 crore and imposed a fine of Rs 4 crore on the company.

He said it was the third walkout on the third day of the four-day monsoon session. While pointing to the visitors’ gallery where the State incharge of Congress Mr Birender Chaudhary and Anees Ahmed were sitting, Chief Minister said, today’s walkout was to impress the outside leaders and had no grounds.

The Congress was also to stage a rally to welcome the newly elected PCC President Virbhadra Singh outside the assembly.

He said that it has become a tradition in Congress to reward the person who is involved in scams and suffering from corruption charges. While mentioning the CD case of Virbhadra Singh, Mr Dhumal said a new scandal of selling steel scrap of worth Rs 2000 crore when the former was Union Steel Minister was the reason behind his removal from the ministry.

He said the Congress has lost the opportunity to raise certain peoples’ issues and remained busy in factional fights.

KY Singh is a political observer and a senior journalist with an interest in a diverse set of issues related to Himachal Pradesh and other mountain states. He lives in Shimla.

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