Opposition Protests Against PDP Government in J&K Assembly

The Jammu and Kashmir Government on Friday (June 3) rebutted an opposition charge that non-state subjects will be allowed to participate in bidding for mineral extraction in the state, even as the Assembly Speaker formed a House Committee to examine the issue. The Committee will submit its report by July 15, Speaker Kavinder Gupta said. Mohammad Akbar Lone, Devender Singh Rana (both National Conference), Sukhnandan Chaudhary, Ajit Jasrotia (both BJP), ALtaf Bukhari, Javaid Baig (PDP), Bashir Dar (Peoples Conference), Nawang Rigzin Jora (Congress) and H M Yaseen (Independent) will be the members of the Committee, he said. National Conference, Congress and CPI (M) members claimed that an order issued by the Industries and Commerce department has allowed non-state subjects to participate in the mineral extraction bidding process and it should be revoked immediately. Their stand was backed by some ruling PDP and BJP MLAs. The agitating members claimed that continuation of the State Regulatory Order (SRO)-105 would affect the livelihood of thousands of families as big contractors from outside the state will put the local contractors out of competition, resulting in escalation of cost of construction material. The Speaker had initially refused to give in to the demand of the members, stating that a question was listed in the Question Hour on the issue and they could raise it at that time. This led to several opposition MLAs storming the Well of the House and raising slogans against the government. Industries and Commerce Minister Chander Prakash said the SRO was issued in compliance with the directions of the High Court which had sought implementation of the Supreme Court ruling on the matter. The opposition members alleged that the order was brought to favour mining contractors from neighbouring Punjab. However, Prakash said that only state subjects of Jammu and Kashmir will be allowed to participate in the bidding process. He also rejected the opposition charge that its implementation would lead to escalation in cost of construction material.

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