Dubbing the BJD government in Odisha as "mining-oriented", Congress today sought clarification from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on delayed issuance of notices to mine owners about alleged excess mining of minerals.
"Naveen babu has been the chief minister of Odisha for 12 years. Now the state government has issued notices for over production of minerals. You (Naveen) have the government and the minister. What the government had been doing all these years when excess mining was being done," AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh told a press conference here.
Singh said the Congress would request the Justice M B Shah Commission to probe into the illegal mining being carried out beyond the leased areas in the state. "We are yet to know about the actual amount of illegal mining in non-leased area," he said.
Stating that Odisha is a mineral-rich and agriculture-based state, Digvijay alleged that the BJD's model had been mining-oriented and not for development of agriculture.
Congress government had all along given priority to farmers while the BJD regime diverted irrigation water for industrial use, Singh said.
"About 3,000 farmers have committed suicide in the state and there is no effort to increase irrigation potential of the state. The irrigation was instead diverted for industrial use," he said.
Replying to Digvijay's allegation, BJD vice-President and Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya said, "The state government had informed the IBM about excess production of mineral.
"As the IBM did not act, the state government issued notice of penalty to mine owners," he said.