`Illegal mining to be a major issue in MP polls`

An IPS officer was mowed down allegedly by a member of the mining mafia at Banmore town in Morena district on Holi.

Bhopal: Leader of Opposition in Madhya Pradesh Assembly, Ajay Singh, on Friday said that though his party raised the matter of rampant illegal mining vigorously in the winter session, it came out in full force only when a young IPS officer was mowed down allegedly by a member of the mining mafia, an issue which will play a major role in the next state polls.

"There was no doubt that illegal mining and the manner in which it was being give protection by the ruling BJP would be a major issue in next year`s Assembly Elections," Ajay Singh said today.

IPS officer, Narendra Kumar Singh, was mowed down allegedly by a member of the mining mafia at Banmore town in Morena district on Holi when he tried to stop a tractor-trolley carrying illegally mined stones.

Ajay said that this issue will figure along with the issue of Bijli, Sadak and Pani (power, roads and water) in the Assembly Elections due in 2013 November in the state.

He said that it was these three issues on which the BJP had come to power in the December 2003 Assembly Elections but it had failed on all three fronts.

"More than eight years after the BJP came to power, there is acute power shortage, roads are in a bad shape and there is poor management of water in Madhya Pradesh," the leader of Opposition said.

Ajay said that since it came to power in 2003, the BJP has only been making tall and false claims about improving the situation but it had failed miserably.

"The only area in which they may have done well is the field of making claims. The ruling party almost makes one claim each day," he alleged. Ajay said the illegal mining in Madhya Pradesh was much bigger than in Karnataka`s Bellary mining scam.

His claim in this regard has been supported by many including the Janata Dal (U) president, Sharad Yadav.

Congress general secretary and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh too has charged that the BJP was not serious in tackling the menace of illegal mining.

Singh said it was not enough to order a CBI inquiry into the killing of the young IPS officer.

"If the BJP wants, it can order an inquiry into mining activities since 1993 when I first became Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister," he said.

However, State BJP president Prabhat Jha said that the unfortunate incident of killing of the IPS officer was an isolated case and had nothing to do with rampant illegal mining as alleged by the Opposition.

Since Congress has nothing concrete against the BJP government and is totally demoralised after its poor performance in Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections, which it fought under the guidance of Digvijay Singh, it is politicising the sacrifice of the young officer.

Following ruckus created in the State Assembly by the Congress and on the demand of the slain officer`s IAS wife, Madhurani, the State Chief Minister has recommended a CBI probe into the case.

However, State Congress Media Department chairman, Manak Agrawal, said that the party will not sit quietly on the issue till the CBI probe is recommended into the entire illegal mining activities in the state.