Katni hawala scam, sand mining to rock Madhya Pradesh budget session

BHOPAL: Issues like Katni hawala scam with the alleged involvement of a minister of state and illegal sand mining from the Narmada river is expected to rock the budget session in the Madhya Pradesh assembly. The five-week long budget session commences on Tuesday and is scheduled to end on March 31. But Congress fears that when sensitive issues are raised against the ruling party, government might not permit House to run for the full session.
“This has been strategy of the ruling BJP to run away from the state assembly, simply because Opposition raises issues on the floor of the House,” said Bala Bachchan, Congress’ acting LoP. “But we will see to it that there is no hindrance in running of the House because we want discussions and debates.”

BJP government will be under attack with issues like its claimed party worker Dhruv Saxena’s alleged involvement in the ISI spy racket unearthed by the ATS recently. Dhruv Saxena’s photos with BJP leaders including chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya will be taken-up by the Congress Opposition.

“We will also expose the truth behind the state government’s claim of providing agricultural loans at 0% interest,” Bala Bachchan said. “Farmers who take these loans from cooperative banks have to return the loan by February 28 instead of the previous March 31 deadline. This new date of February 28 means inconvenience and a lot of struggle for the agrarian community. Wheat, mustard and gram are the major crops of the rabi harvest and end of February is too early for payment. The crops are still standing on the field, not ready for harvest. So, where from will the farmer pay back the loan?”

Congress said that distressed farmers will face hardships because a day after the February 28 deadline, the loans have to be repaid at 18% interest.

Demonetisation and the mismanagement of implementation is another issue that the Congress will raise. “There is also a severe fiscal crisis in the state which the government does not admit to. We know that funds from the Union government are constraint and the state despite its continuous efforts is not being able to release money from the Centre for various schemes,” Bachchan said. “Demonetisation has added to the financial predicament.”

Congress MLAs claimed that their questions on illegal sand mining and Katni hawala scam will not be permitted for discussion. “And when we bring it up, the government will scoot like it did when we brought-up Vyapam during the budget session in 2015. They guillotined the House to avoid the discussions,” a senior party MLA said. “But illegal sand mining and Katni hawala is unavoidable. The Congress is prepared to attack the ruling BJP on the issues,” he added.