Ranchi: Chief minister Raghubar Das has announced the setting up of a special investigation team to probe illegal transfer of tribal land and defended his government's decision to renew pending mining lease of companies like the Tatas and SAIL.
Amid acrimonious exchanges between Opposition MLAs, led by JMM leader Hemant Soren, and the Treasury Benches, with both camps accusing each other of promoting illegal deals, the chief minister clarified that the lease renewals were done on the basis of a Jharkhand High Court order.
He argued that a "vision" was more important than "money" for the growth of the state and that his government was following the mantra of "5 Ds - direction, dedication, determination, discipline and deadline".
Hemant said the BJP-led government was helping the corporate sector at the cost of the state's poor.
When h asked the chief minister to justify the basis of his decision to hand over PTPS and TVNL to NTPC, Das said NTPC was a central PSU and several states were running power plants with it under joint ventures.
"I welcome healthy criticism. But, these people are least interested about the welfare of the poor, especially unemployed youths. Mining lease renewals will fetch the state royalty to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore and generate employment opportunities for local youths. Doing business is no sin. The Tatas are here since 1907," Das said.
But JMM and JVM members continued to disrupt his speech, with MLAs rising from their seats and alleging that the chief minister was misleading the House.
At this, Das, too, lost his cool. "Sit down. I will unmask you all," he said. Soon after, JMM and JVM members walked out.
The chief minister announced that he would soon set up a special investigation team to probe irregular transfer of tribal land in various parts of Ranchi and Bokaro districts and several areas of the Santhal Pargana region.
The choice of the areas left little doubt about the BJP's game plan as the Sorens are alleged to have land interests in Bokaro and the Santhal Pargana.
Das alleged while the JMM promoted alcoholism among tribals, his government had announced Rs 1 lakh grant for villages that had completely eradicated drinking among its men.
Targeting JVM, Das said that two-thirds of the party's MLAs had already joined the BJP and that the BJP's doors were open for the remaining MLAs.
When Congress leader Alamgir Alam objected, the chief minister silenced him. "Please sit. I am not telling you anything," Das clarified.
Earlier, Hemant claimed the Raghubar Das government's cabinet decisions were a repeat of those already taken by his own government of the past. If crude oil prices were sliding globally, what was the reason behind increasing diesel and petrol prices in Jharkhand through VAT and cess, he asked.
To this, Treasury Bench members raised the issue of the JMM's alleged underhand dealings while awarding sand mining contracts during his tenure as chief minister.
But, Hemant was undeterred. "I am ready to face any inquiry. You are in power, who is stopping you from ordering a CBI probe," he asked.