By A Aalim Ahmad
Srinagar: The entire opposition on Friday sought resignation of industries and commerce minister Chander Prakash Ganga after it came to fore that a Chandigarh resident has been authorised to extract minerals from a riverbed in Kathua under SRO-105, even though the implementation of the SRO had been halted by the assembly pending a report from a house committee.
Some ruling party legislators also joined the protests against the brazen violation of the assembly ruling that barred enactment of the SRO passed in March by the then Governor-led state administrative council.
The miffed minister initially feigned ignorance about any wrongdoing but later assured the house that he would come out with the facts on Saturday besides submitting the “action-taken report”.
The ruckus in the lower house started when Marxist legislator Yousuf Taragami informed that the Chandigarh resident, Mohan Paul Singh, has been accorded “no objection certificate” for extraction of minerals from the Ravi river on an area of 40 acres at two separate spots. Tarigami questioned the temerity of the officials of the geology and mining department and Pollution Control Board who issue the certificate despite the fact that the assembly has imposed moratorium on the implementation of SRO-105 pending a decision from the house committee headed by former speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone. Taragami was joined by Lone, Sheikh Rashid, Congress legislative party leader Rigzin Jora and a battery of NC legislators.
“This is insult to the House. How dare the officers pass an order in spite of a ban imposed by the assembly,” Taragami said.
Lone said that the department has breached the trust of the house that warrants a breach of privilege motion against the minister, his resignation along-with that of the secretaries of Industries department and pollution control board and revocation of the latest order.
When Ganga attempted to explain his viewpoint, his voice was suppressed by the agitating legislators. “I don’t know anything about the matter as yet. I assure you that nobody will be spared,” ganga said.
However, he was confronted by his party colleague Rajeev Jasrotia who explained as to how the issuance of no-objection certificate was sub-judice as well as breach of privilege of the house.
Revenue minister Basharat Bukhari said whosoever has attempted to fiddle with the honour of the house must be dealt with. “The officers involved in issuing the orders must be put on suspension today,” Bukhari said.
Speaker Kavinder Gupta and deputy speaker Nazir Gurezi also said that the guilty officers must be punished. “My office has issued order to suspend implementation of SRO-105. How these officers have dared to violate this order. The officers must be suspended immediately,” Gupta said. He said the chair has been disrespected by the officers.
However, the minister did not respond even as he went out of the house apparently to collect details about the controversial orders. Before the conclusion of the day’s business, the Speaker said that he has received a message from the minister that he would respond in the house on Saturday. “The minister will also submit the action taken report,” Gupta said.