Himachal favouring business group, says Congress

April 4th, 2011 - 6:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Shimla, April 4 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh government Monday came under fire when an opposition legislator accused the state of being run by industrial houses.

The allegation was first made two days ago when senior Congress leader and union Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Virbhadra Singh accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of selling the interests of the state.

Firing a salvo at Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal-led government, Congress legislator G.S. Bali said in the assembly Monday that favouritism towards the Jaypee Group was writ large in its land deal.

He said the government was being run by the industrial house.

The government replied that 3,675 bighas (about 1,470 hectares) have been leased to the Jaypee Group for establishing cement and hydel projects.

However, Bali said the company has raised an orchard on the land that was allotted to it for setting up the 1,000 MW Karcham-Wangtoo hydropower project in Kinnaur district.

Intervening during the debate, Dhumal accused the previous Congress regime of ignoring the state’s interests.

He said the previous state government gave permission in 2005 to the Jaypee Group to set up a cement unit at Baghari village in Solan district, but failed to get the lease money.

“It was the present government in 2009 that charged Rs.558,189 per bigha for the land leased to the Jaypee Group for the Baghari cement plant against the normal rate of Rs.100,000 per bigha,” Dhumal said.

Replying to another question, the government admitted that seven cases of encroachment on government land by Karcham-Wangtoo hydropower project authorities have come to its notice.

“The government is aware of the encroachments and action would soon be initiated against the Jaypee Group,” Revenue Minister Gulab Singh said in the assembly.

The Jaypee Group is a Rs.10,000-crore infrastructural industrial group in power, engineering and construction, cement, hospitality, real estate and expressways and highways.

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